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EU renews commitment to gender equality

Posted by Nick Prag at 10 March 2016, 18:40 CET |

International Women's Day on 8 March was an opportunity for the EU to assess progress on gender equality in Europe. Bringing out a report on gender equality, the Commission renewed a commitment to integrating equality for women and men into every EU policy across the board.

The report highlighted some stand-out figures. Since the Commission announced in 2010 the possibility of bringing in legislation, the EU has moved from 11 per cent of women represented on company boards to 17.8 per cent in 2014. This compares with a rate of progress which is four times higher today than it was between 2003 and 2010.

17 per cent however is still some way off 50 per cent. Gender equality is also about reducing the various other gaps, as well as combating violence and promoting general equality in decision-making.

Women are still paid on average 16 per cent less than men for every hour worked, while a third of women work part-time, mainly because of care responsibilities that are not fairly with men.

The Commission does highlight some advances: recent EU legislation secures victims' rights, addresses trafficking in human beings, and promotes equal treatment.

This year, initiatives will, it says, include addressing the work life balance of parents and the participation of women in the labour market.

And the Commission has just tabled a proposal to ratify the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women.

Now is the time for the EU to step up the momentum on gender equality. As the Commission says in its statement: “We stand together, today and every other day, committed to creating a world where our daughters and sons have equal opportunities. When it comes to dreams, when it comes to goals, gender must never be considered an obstacle."

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.