After a decade of equal opportunity practices, there has been only marginal change in the professional male/female staff profile of many government, university and private sector organizations. All the European central bank nominees in 1996 were men. The European Women's Lobby notes a general absence of women in decision-making positions in Europe. It argues that male networks will not let women in and that social structures are created around the needs of men rather than women. This creates difficulty for women in trying to balance a career with raising a family. There are also ambiguous social attitudes that give lip-service to equality but actually look upon women and children as a problem. < A woman was appointed judge in the European Court of Justice for the first time in 1999, although the Court was established 50 years ago, in 1952. Only 4% of university chairs were occupied by women in Austria (10% in Italy, 13% in France).
The report of an Australian university in 1993 was that tenured female academic staff had risen only from 12% to 15% over 15 years, and much of that increase occurred because of a fall in the number of tenured male staff due to staff ceilings. Whilst many factors were considered beyond the institution's control, such as the lack of relevantly qualified female applicants for jobs, it was suggested that discrimination still operates almost sub-consciously and is based on deep-rooted assumptions about the roles and capacities of men and women. Changes in policies and procedures have little impact at this level. Another part of the problem is the disproportionate share of responsibility carried by women for bearing and raising children. Career breaks to have children, working part-time, going home at five to do the housework, difficulty in attending after-hours meetings, all count against women's career advancement. This would only balance out when jobs are seen more in terms of conditions of service, such as flexibility of duties, rather than appointments.