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How we’ve collected the data, what each metric measures, and some data health warnings


The main Women Leaders Index records the proportion of women employed in the top five grades of the civil service in each of the G20 countries. It also tracks the proportion over previous years, running back to 2012.

The top five grades comprise roughly the top 1% of central government civil servants, defined as non-elected senior leaders and managers across federal or national governments. The Index uses the most comparable and up-to-date data available at the time that the research was carried out.

Women in the senior civil service and women across the total public sector is gathered directly from individual central government agencies and statistical authorities, with the exception of China. Data for China was calculated from proprietary Global Government Forum data on senior civil servants in in the country to provide estimates.

Data for Germany and Italy was obtained from the OECD Government at a Glance 2021 research. This data refers to the women in senior management positions in central government. This refers to D1 and D2 Managers as defined by the OECD* adapted from the International Standard classification of occupations (ISCO-08) developed by the International Labour Organization. While this is a slightly narrower definition than that of the senior civil service, it provides a more accurate representation than that of just the top two tiers.

Data for France, Russia and Indonesia refers to 2019, as 2021 data is currently unavailable.

Data on women in nationally elected positions is sourced from the UN and Inter-Parliamentary Union statistics, which are publicly available. Data for the European Commission was sourced from the UK House of Commons Library ‘Women in Politics and Public Life’ research briefing.

Data on women in cabinet positions is sourced from the UN and Inter-Parliamentary Union statistics, which are publicly available.

Data on women on private sector boards is sourced from the MCSI ‘Women on Boards 2020 Progress Report’, published via the MSCI website.

EU data for level 1 and 2 administrators is provided by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).

Data collection, definitions and reporting frequency vary across national governments; the Women Leaders Index series aims to provide the most comparable, and up-to-date data available from across all of the national governments included. Comparability of data across the last ten years has significantly improved as with the Women Leader’s Index data collection and comparison methodology has evolved. Whereas care should be taken in directly comparing 2012 data to 2022 data, for example, the Index provides a useful benchmark on tracking change over time.

*Note: Senior managers are D1 and D2 managers, alternatively referred to as ‘senior civil servants’ or ‘top managers’, as set out in the OECD classification and definitions here and here.