Troubled times incite intolerance
International Women's Day Wednesday was an occasion for the EU to reaffirm its strong commitment to gender equality.
The principle of equality between women and men has been enshrined in the EU treaties from the very beginning, in 1957, with a provision on equal pay included in the Treaty of Rome.
However, women are still often paid less, receive lower pensions and are less represented in top corporate posts and politics.
Extraordinary that while women in the EU are on average better educated than men, they are still paid less for doing the same work. They are also under-represented in managerial positions, with only one third of managers in EU being women, women who earn on average one quarter less than men.
A few stand-out figures from the report: while 60 per cent of university graduates are women, that is not the whole story. There is a 16 per cent average pay gap. There is a 38% pension gap. Only 5 per cent of CEOs are women.
And one in three women over the last 5 years experienced sexual, physical or other, kinds of sexual harassment.
The global situation is not helping, with evidence showing that these troubling times following the Brexit and Trump votes are looking likely to result in increasing intolerance in general, including against women.
Indeed there are worrying signs that some EU Member States may be moving in opposite directions and that in some cases we could even be witnessing regression.