Ahead of International Women’s Day (8 March), the European Commission is reaffirming its commitment to tackle gender inequalities across the EU.
According to new Eurobarometer statistics, a large majority of citizens (76%) believe that tackling inequality between women and men should be a priority for the EU. According to the latest Eurostat data, the gender pay gap remains stagnant for another year running - per hour women earn 16.4% less than men. The Commission’s annual Report on equality between women and men shows that despite some progress gender equality remains an unfinished business.
"Europe cannot afford to underuse the potential of 50 percent of its population. Even though equal chances for women and men are more than ever becoming a reality, there is still a long way to go. For every euro a man earns in Europe, a woman still earns only 84 cents. Women are still underrepresented in leadership both in business and in politics. And worst of all, one in three women has experienced physical and sexual violence. This is unacceptable. I am committed to addressing these challenges and to achieve tangible results." said Vĕra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.
Key findings from the Eurobarometer include:
The 2014 Report on equality between women and men shows that although gaps between men and women have narrowed in recent decades, inequalities within and between Member States have grown overall and challenges remain in critical areas:
The EU has acted to advance gender equality over the past year. In particular, in 2014, the EU has:
The Commission will continue its work with Member States, NGOs and stakeholders to drive forward gender equality at all levels, strengthening and consolidating the gains made in the past and meet the new challenges in the period ahead. The focus will be on "finishing the unfinished business" to close the gaps in pay, employment, pensions and decision-making, and to eradicate gender-based violence.
The Latvian Presidency will table Council conclusions on the gender pension gap that will contribute to shaping a policy response to this issue. Legislative proposals such as the Women on Boards Directive or the Maternity Leave Directive must now be agreed in the Council by Ministers from the Member States as well as by the European Parliament in order to become law. Member States will also notify measures taken to improve pay transparency. This follows the Commission’s Recommendation on Equal Pay Transparency giving Member States, for the first time, a toolbox of measures to tackle this issue.
Read more on the European Commission’s website.