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Five women in new Belgian cabinet

7 Dec, 2011

Belgium's new government - formed after 541 days of political wrangling - includes a number of women in very senior roles.

There are a total of 13 cabinet ministers, of whom 5 are women, including both Deputy Prime Ministers Joelle Milquet (also Minister of the Interior) and Laurette Onkelinx (also Minister of Social Affairs). Women also hold three other posts - Sabine Laurelle is responsible for (amongst other things) agriculture and the middle classes, Annemie Turtelboom is the Minister of Justice, and Monica de Connick is the Minister of Employment.

In addition, one of the 6 Secretaries of State is female - Maggie de Block, who, as the assisant Minister of Justice, is reponsible for immingration and social intergration. This means that the whole of the Belgian Justice ministerial team is female.

In the UK, 5 (22%) of the cabinet is female, and there are very few women in ministerial posts further down the ladder. 39% of the Belgian parliament is female, and Belgium ranks tenth in the worldwide league table (out of 189). There are currently more than 50 counties ahead of the UK, where 22% of MPs are women.