As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we wanted to acknowledge the profound impact of some of the women who have left their mark on the EU. While our list is by no means exhaustive, these women have played pivotal roles in shaping policies, driving socio-economic progress, and championing the values of equality and diversity.

Ursula von der Leyen

President, European Commission

Of course, we know this is an obvious one, but with Ursula von der Leyen being the first woman to ever head the European Commission, and her official announcement that she is running for a second term, we would be remiss not adding her on the list as the ‘face’ of the EU. To paraphrase Kissinger’s famous words: she’s the one you call when you want to call Europe.

Roberta Metsola

President, European Parliament

Also a usual suspect, Roberta Metsola was elected in 2022 and was the first woman to hold that post as President of the European Parliament since 2002! She also happens to have been the youngest person ever to be elected in that role!

Emily O’Reilly

EU Ombudsman

A former journalist, Emily O’Reilly stepped into her role as EU Ombudsman in 2013. While her current term ends this year, it is clear that she has always pushed for further transparency and accountability within the EU.

Anna Jarosz-Friis

Acting director, Ukraine Service, DG NEAR

Anna Jarosz-Friis plays a leading role in managing Ukraine’s accession process to the EU. All the big fights on this tricky file will pass through her, especially on whether Ukraine meets all the necessary membership conditions. No small feat.

Florence Gaub

NATO Director Defense College

Florence Gaub is a Franco-German researcher on security and currently the Director at NATO’s Defense College. Her main role is to predict upcoming security threats and help the EU brace for violent eruptions. Recognised as an expert on the war in Ukraine, Gaub is a central player in the understanding of conflict at the doors of Europe.

Isabelle Vereecken

Head of the Secretariat of the European Data Protection Board

Vereecke has been working in the field of data protection since 2002. A key player in the negotiations for the GDPR, she helped establish (and now head) the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), a powerful and influent player in data protection.

Julia Poliscanova

Senior Director at Transport & Environment (T&E)

Julia Poliscanova knows everything there is to know about the legislation around the production of batteries for e-vehicles. Seeing how there is a projected explosion in demand and a strong will to bring production back to Europe, leading T&E’s work around vehicles, electrification and supply chains across Europe becomes critical.

Your personal inspiration is not on the list? Drop us a line and let us know! As we reflect on the impact of these remarkable women and countless others, we not only celebrate their accomplishments but also remind ourselves of the ongoing fight for gender equality and women’s rights. International Women’s Day serves as a powerful reminder of the progress we have made, but also highlights the work that remains to be done.

Did you know?

We are very proud to have a leadership team of women! From our CEO, Feriel, to our CBDO Victoria, as well as Aleksandra, our PA Director and Vanessa, Account Director in the comms practice… we know who runs our world!

Want more?

Check out our compilation of resources on gender and diversity:

Take a stroll back in time to discover the women that shaped Europe:

Wanna dance? Here is our team’s selection of empowering anthems: