THE WOMEN MAYORS PROJECT

Women mayors in Europe
Female mayors in Europe:
The most powerful women

By City Mayors Research*

ON THIS PAGE: Introduction ||| Northern Europe ||| Eastern Europe ||| Western Europe ||| Southern Europe ||| South Eastern Europe

ON OTHER PAGES: Europe's women mayors ||| Capital cities with women mayors

Country by country review

February 2022: While the total number of women mayors across Europe is deplorably low, some of the continent’s politically, economically and culturally most important cities have female leaders. Paris and Berlin are now governed by women. Women are also in charge in a number of smaller capital cities as well as in municipalities of national and international importance including Barcelona, Zurich, Copenhagen, Oslo, Lodz, Amsterdam, Strasbourg, Cologne and Sofia.

Europe’s longest-serving female mayors include Martine Aubry, Lille, since 2001; Aino-Maija Luukkonen, Pori, since 2004; Corine Mauch, Zurich, since 2009; Hanna Zdanowska, Lodz, since 2010; Yordanka Fandakova, Sofia, since 2011; Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Malmö, since 2013; Ros Jones, Doncaster, since 2013; Anne Hidalgo, Paris, since 2014; Benedikte Kiaer, Helsingor, since 2014; Fatma Sahin, Gaziantep, since 2014; Jasna Gabric, Trbovlje, since 2014; Ada Colau, Barcelona, since 2015 and Marianne Borgen, Oslo, since 2015.

The majority – 40 out of 71 – of female mayors of large European cities belong to parties on the left of the political spectrum. Some 17 are members of centrist parties, while eight mayors are on the nationalist right. Six mayors describe themselves as independent or unaffiliated.


Northern Europe
ESTONIA
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors

The two female mayors from Estonia represent the third and fifth largest cities of the country. Katri Raik, Mayor of Narva (population 57,000) was the country’s interior minister between 2018 and 2019. Before joining the government, she, as the rector of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, was responsible for the training of the country’s civil servants. Kohtla-Järve, the city of Mayor Ljudmila Jantšenko, has a population of 35,000.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Narva (3) Katri Raik
2020
Social Democrat
Kohtla-Järve (5) Ljudmila Jantsenko
2016
Centrist


DENMARK
Three of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors
Sophie Andersen, Mayor of the country’s capital Copenhagen (population 800,000), succeeded the city’s long-serving mayor Frank Jensen in November 2021. Between 2014 and 2021 she was council chairperson of the Danish Capital Region with its 29 municipalities.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Copenhagen (1) Sophie Andersen
2021
Social Democrat
Herning (11) Dorte West
2021
Liberal party
Helsingor (13) Benedikte Kiaer
2014
Conservative Party


FINLAND
Five of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors
While for many people outside Finland, Helsinki is the only Finnish city they could name, the country has a number of other sizeable and economically important communities. Tampere, with a population of more than 240,000, is country’s largest inland city. Turku, the oldest city in Finland, has a population of just under 200,000.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Tampere (3) Anna-Kaisa Ikonen
2021
National Coalition Party (Conservative)
Oulu (5) Päivi Laajala
2017
Turku (6) Minna Arve
2021
National Coalition Party (Conservative)
Pori (10) Aino-Maija Luukkonen
2004
Social Democrat
Kouvola(11) Marita Toikka
2017
National Coalition Party (Conservative)


NORWAY
Ten of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors
Norway is the only European country where the majority of mayors of large cities are women. Some like, like the mayors of Oslo, Drammen, Alesund and Haugesund have been re-elected since they first stood. All 10 mayors belong to parties on the left.


City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Oslo (1) Marianne Borgen
2015
Socialist Left Party
Stavanger (3) Kari Nessa Nordtun
2019
Labour Party
Drammen (5) Rita Irene Ottervik
2005
Labour Party
Fredrikstad (6) Siry Martinen
2021
Labour Party
Skien (7) Hedda Foss Five
2022
Labour Party
Alesund (9) Eva Vinje Aurdal
2015
Labour Party
Tonsberg(10) Anne Rygh Pedersen
2020
Labour Party
Moss (11) Hanne Kristin Tollerud
2017
Labour Party
Haugesund (12) Arne-Christian Mohn
2015
Labour Party
Bode (15) Ida Maria Pinnerød
2015
Labour Party


SWEDEN
Two of the country’s top five towns and cities have women mayors.
Since 2002, four of Stockholm’s five mayors (municipal commissioners for finance) have been women. Two belonged to the centre-right Moderate party, while the other two were Social Democrats. Malmö’s Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh is the city’s first female mayor.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Stockholm (1) Anna Jerlmyr
2018
Moderate Party (Centre-right)
Malmö (3) Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh
2013
Social Democrat


Eastern Europe
CZECH REPUBLIC
One of the country’s top 15 towns and cities has a woman mayor
Markéta Vaňkov has been involved in local and regional politics since 2002 when she was elected local councillor of the Brno district.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Brno (2) Markéta Vanková
2018
Civic Democratic Party (conservative)


HUNGARY
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Kecskemét (9) Klaudia Szemereyné Pataki
2014
Fidesz (right-wing)
Tatabanya (15) Ilona Szücsné Posztovics
2019
Independent


POLAND
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors
The local administrations of Lodz and Gdansk have a history of opposing national authoritarianism. In Gdansk, the birthplace of Solidarity in 1980, Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, who was assassinated in 2019, was a forceful opponent of Poland’s right-wing central government. He supported LGBT rights and spoke in favour of immigration during the 2015 crisis. His successor, Aleksndra Dulkiewicz, is the city’s first female mayor. Hanna Zdanowska was re-elected twice despite various attempts by right-wing opponents to discredit her.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Lodz (3) Hanna Zdanowska
2010
Civic Platform (centrist)
Gdansk (6) Aleksndra Dulkiewicz
2019
Independent


RUSSIA
Three of the country's top 15 towns and cities have women mayors
All three female mayors belong to United Russia, the country's largest and governing party. The mayors of Chelabinsk and Omsk were elected to their post by their respective city councils (dumas).

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Chelabinsk, Ural region (7) Natalia Kotov Since 2019 United Russia (nationalist)
Samara, Volga region (8) Elena Lapushkina n/a United Russia (nationalist)
Omsk, Western Siberia region (9) Oksana Fadina Since 2017 United Russia (nationalist)


SLOVAKIA
Three of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors
Andrea Turčanová, a member of the European Union’s Committee of the Regions, has lived and worked all her life in Presov.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Presov (3) Andrea Turcanová
2014
Conservative
Prievidzz (11) Katarína Machácková
2010
Together Party (Christian democrat)
Zvolen (12) Lenka Balkovicová
2014
n/a


Western Europe
AUSTRIA
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors
Elke Kahr is the first female mayor in Graz and Austria’s first and only Communist mayor. On Graz’s city council she heads a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens.


City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Graz (2) Elke Kahr
2021
Communist
Dornbim (10) Andrea Kaufmann
2013
Austrian People's Party (conservative)


BELGIUM
One of the country’s top 15 towns and cities has a woman mayor.
Molenbeek, one of 19 municipalities in the Brussels capital region, captured international headlines when it emerged that seven men involved in the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris grew up and lived in the town. Since then, the town has worked hard to leave the stigma of terrorism behind.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Molenbeek (11) Catherine Moureaux
2018
Socialist


FRANCE
Five of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors
Anne Hidalgo, who succeeded Bertrand Delanoë as Mayor of Paris, is the French capital’s first female mayor. She is currently the Socialist Party candidate for President of France. Martine Aubry, one of the longest-serving mayors in Europe, aimed to become the Socialists’ presidential candidate in 2012 but lost out to François Hollande, who went on to win the general election.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Paris (1) Anne Hidalgo
2014
Socialist
Nantes (6) Johanna Rolland
2014
Socialist
Strasbourg (8) Jeanne Barseghian
2020
Europe Ecology (pro-European, Green)
Lille (10) Martine Aubry
2001
Socialist
Rennes (11) Nathalie Appéré
2014
Socialist


GERMANY
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors
For a country that prides itself for promoting women in government and business - half the country’s federal government cabinet ministers are women – the offices of mayors are still very much a male domain. Cities like Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and Hannover never had a woman as municipal leader. Both Franziska Giffey and Henriette Reker are the first female mayors of their respective cities.


City (National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Berlin (1) Franziska Giffey
2021
Social Democrat
Cologne (4) Henriette Reker
2015
Independent


LUXEMBOURG
One of the country’s top five towns and cities has a women mayor

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Luxembourg City (1) Lydie Polfer
2013
Democratic Party (centre-right)


NETHERLANDS
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors


City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Amsterdam (1) Femke Halsema
2018
Groen Links (leftist Green)
Utrecht (4) Sharon Dijksma
2020
Labour Party


SWITZERLAND
Four of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors
Since her election in March 2009, Zurich’s Mayor Corine Mauch has become a role model for women wanting to make a career in local government. She set up an office for gender equality and implemented rules to ensure that at least 30 per cent of staff in every department are women. Zurich is also the first local authority in Switzerland to have signed up to the ‘trans welcome initiative’.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Zurich (1) Corine Mauch
2009
Social Democrat
Geneva (2) Frédérique Perler
2021
Les Verts (Green)
St Gallen (8) Maria Papp
2021
Social Democrat
Köniz (13) Naqnnemarie Berlinger-Staub
2018
Social Democrat


UNITED KINGDOM
Five of the country’s 25 local authorities with directly elected leaders have women mayors.

While three of England’s 21 metropolitan boroughs with directly elected mayors have women at the helm, only one the 10 powerful metro regions are led by a woman. London has never had a female mayor and of the four boroughs with elected mayors only one, Newham, has a woman at the top.

Metro regions
(Regions' rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
West Yorkshire (4) Tracy Brabin
2021
Labour
Towns / Metro boroughs (National rank)
Liverpool (7) Joanne Anderson
2021
Labour
Doncaster (26) Ros Jones
2013
Labour
North Tyneside (55) Norma Redfearn
2013
Labour
London boroughs (London rank)
Newham (3) Rokhsana Fiaz
2018
Labour


Southern Europe
ITALY
None of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors


PORTUGAL
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Amadora (4) Carla Tavares
2017
Socialist Party
Almada (8) Inês de Medeiros
2017
Socialist Party


SPAIN
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors

Ada Colau became a political activist in 2009 when she co-founded the organisation ‘People affected by mortgages’. It was set up in Barcelona in response to the rise of evictions caused by unpaid mortgages following the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent collapse of the Spanish property market.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Barcelona (2) Ada Colau
2015
Barcelona en Comú (leftist)
Cartagena (15) Noelia Arroya
2021
People's Party (conservative)


South Eastern Europe
ALBANIA
Two of the country's top 5 towns and cities have women mayors
Albania's second and fifths largest cities have female mayors. The mayor of Durrës belongs to the country's ruling Socialist Party, while the city leader of Shkodër is a member of the centre-right Democrat Party.

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Durrës (2) Emiriana Sako
2019
Socialist Party
Shkodër (5) Voltana Ademi
2015
Democratic Party (centre-right)


BULGARIA
One of the country’s top 15 towns and cities has a woman mayor

Until the November 2021 general election, which her party lost, the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, was one of the favourites to succeed the former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who himself was Mayor of the Bulgarian capital from 2005 to 2009.


City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Sofia (1) Yordanka Fandakova
2011
GERB (rightist)


CROATIA
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors


City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Sisak (10) Kristina Iki_ Bani_ek
2013
Social Democrat
Samobor (15) Petra Skrobot
2021
n/a


GREECE
None of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors



NORTH MACEDONIA
One of the country's top 5 towns and cities has a women mayor

Danela Arsovska, the Mayor of North Macedonia's capital city Skopje, is one of the country's most prominent politicians. She serves on the World Bank panel for International Centre for Settlement of Investment disputes, is a court member at the OSCE in Geneva and represents North Macedonia at the International Chamber of Commerce

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Skopje (1) Danela Arsovska
2021
Independent


ROMANIA
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors


City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Craiova (6) Lia Olguta Vasilescu
2020
Social Democrat
Sibiu (14) Astrid Cora Fodor
2014
Democratic Forum of Germans (centrist)


SERBIA
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors

City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Krusevac (8) Jasmina Palurovic
2017
Serbian Progressive Party (populist, nationalist)
Nis (13) Dragana Sotirovski
2020
Serbian Progressive Party (populist, nationalist)


SLOVENIA
Two of the country’s top 15 towns and cities have women mayors


City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Ptuj (8) Nuska Gajsek
2018
Social Democrat
Trbovlje (10) Jasna Gabric
2014
Liberal


TURKEY
One of the country’s top 15 towns and cities has a woman mayor
In a country where there are very few women with senior political roles, Fatma Sahin stands out. She is a co-founder of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was elected three times to the country’s parliament and was the only female minister in Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s 2011 cabinet. In 2014, she was elected the first female mayor of Gaziantep. Under her leadership, the city has been praised for managing the influx of some 100,000 refugees from Syria.


City
(National rank)
Mayor
In office since
Politics
Gaziantep (6) Fatma Sahin
2014
AKP (nationalist)

* The research for Women Mayors in Europe was carried out by City Mayors during December 2021 , January and February 2022. The analysis comprised 420 cities in 30 countries.





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