Women Leaders Index 2019-20

Welcome to the Women Leaders Index: a league table ranking countries on the proportion of women in senior roles within their national civil services. Produced by Global Government Forum, the Index includes data on G20, EU – and, for the first time this year – OECD countries, backed up by analysis and interviews with senior leaders from high-performing civil services.


In many fields of public service delivery, governments have found that publishing data-based ‘league tables’ improves performance – encouraging the poor performers to up their game, while identifying the effective organisations with lessons to teach on how to make progress. That is why Global Government Forum produces the Women Leaders Index: a snapshot of the proportion of women occupying senior civil service leadership positions in the national governments of G20, EU and OECD countries. We want to celebrate the countries that are leading the pack – highlighting the progress they’ve made since the first Women Leaders Index was published in 2013, and providing insights into how they’ve done it – while ramping up the pressure on those bringing up the rear.

To benchmark civil services’ performance on getting women into senior positions, we also collect figures on the proportion of women elected to national legislative chambers; those holding ministerial posts; and those sitting on publicly-listed private sector boards. The Index uses the most comparable and up-to-date data available at the time that the research was carried out, between October and November 2019.

The tabs at the top of this website provide access to our report – which sets out and analyses our main findings – plus three accompanying case studies based on interviews with senior civil servants. These case studies present a deep dive into civil service gender equality initiatives in Canada, Australia – which stand in first and second places respectively in the G20 rankings – plus non-G20 member New Zealand.

We have also included a piece by Mojca Ramšak Pešec: the state secretary of Slovenia, which has more women in the top two tiers of its civil service than any other EU nation. Her article offers a personal perspective on gender equality in Slovenia and its public service.

Further tabs run through to pages containing the data underpinning the Index, setting out our methodology, and linking to previous years’ reports.