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Europe’s women power

For the first time in its history, Switzerland on Wednesday found itself with a governing Federal Council containing more women than men.

Other European countries where women occupy a large proportion of all ministerial posts:

– FINLAND: The current Finnish cabinet comprises 11 women, including centrist Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi, and nine men. Finland, which does not have laws enforcing gender parity, has had a woman as president since 2000.

– NORWAY: The coalition government of Jens Stoltenberg, formed in October 2009, is made up of 10 women and 10 men. Gender parity has become the norm in the Scandinavian country since the 1980s, when Labour prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland appointed a cabinet made up of almost as many women as men.

– SPAIN: The 18-strong government of Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero currently has as many women as men. Several women hold key portfolios, with Maria Teresa de la Vega the deputy government leader, Elena Salgado economy minister and Carmen Chacon defence minister.

– DENMARK: The cabinet of Liberal Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen is made up of 10 men and nine women. For the first time, in February, the key defence and foreign policy portfolios were handed to women.

– SWEDEN: The outgoing government, which is due to be replaced following elections on Sunday, comprises 10 women and 12 men.