International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

women soccer

(Jeffrey F Lin, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


On the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day, the Commission has published its 2019 report on equality between women and men in the EU. The good news is that Europe is making progress; however, we must speed up change.

The Juncker Commission has acted on all fronts to improve the lives of women in Europe, by fighting violence against women, closing the gender pay gap, and by establishing better work-life balance conditions for families.

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President said today: “We are in 2019 and progress in the area of gender equality is still at a snail’s pace. In some countries the situation is even regressing. All we ask for is: equality for all. Nothing more, but nothing less either. It’s time women and men push for equality together.”

Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, added: Women are still underrepresented in politics across the EU, this also goes for the European institutions. I want to see more women running for election. We should lead by example: I call on Member States to present more female candidates as future European Commissioners.”

Today’s report shows some progress in gender equality, but women still continue to face inequalities in many areas:

  • The EU employment rate for women reached an all-time high of 66.4 % in 2017, but the situation differs across Member States. Last year, eight Member States received recommendations under the European Semester framework to improve female participation in the labour market (Austria, Czechia, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Slovakia).
  • Women are more at risk of poverty, with salaries on average 16% lower than for men. This translates in the pension gap, which stood at 35.7 % in 2017. In some countries, more than 10 % of older women cannot afford necessary health care.
  • Women remain largely under-represented in Parliaments and government. Only 6 of the 28 national parliaments across the EU are led by a woman and seven out of ten members of national parliaments in the EU are men. While the current level of 30.5 % female senior Ministers is the highest since data were first available for all EU Member States in 2004, there is still evidence suggesting that women tend to be allocated portfolios considered to have lower political priority.
  • The glass-ceiling remains a reality in the business world with only 6.3 % of CEO positions in major publicly listed companies in the EU held by women.

Sharing caring responsibilities with new EU Work-life Balance rules

The recent agreement on the Work life balance Directive sets a European minimum standard of 10 days of paid paternity leave for fathers following the birth of their child, compensated at the sick pay level. It strengthens the existing right to 4 months of parental leave, by making 2 months non-transferable between parents and introducing compensation for these 2 months at a level to be determined by the Member States.It also includes provisions for carer’s leave by attributing 5 days per worker per year, as a new European entitlement for workers. Last but not least, the new rules strengthen the right for all parents and carers to request flexible working arrangements.

Women in the European Parliament and in the European Commission

In November 2018, women accounted for 36.4 % of the 749 members of the European Parliament (MEPs), slightly down from the peak of 37.3 % that was reached at the end of 2016. Finland stands out clearly with 76.9 % of its MEPs being women. The representatives of seven Member States include at least 40 % of each gender (Ireland, Spain, France, Croatia, Latvia, Malta, and Sweden, while over 80% of MEPs from Bulgaria, Estonia, Cyprus, Lithuania, and Hungary are men).

Within the European Commission, sustained efforts to meet the 40 % target of women in its middle and senior management by 2019, set by President Jean-Claude Juncker are showing results. The proportion of female managers has reached 39 % at all levels, 37 % at senior management level and 40 % at middle management level.

Background

Equality between women and men is a fundamental value of the European Union and one that has been enshrined in the Treaty from the very beginning, as the Rome Treaty included a provision on equal pay.

The current Commission’s work on gender equality policy is based on the “Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019“, which focuses on five priority areas:

  • increasing female labour-market participation and the equal economic independence of women and men;
  • reducing the gender pay, earnings and pension gaps and thus fighting poverty among women;
  • promoting equality between women and men in decision-making;
  • combating gender-based violence and protecting and supporting victims; and
  • promoting gender equality and women’s rights across the world.

For More Information    

2019 Gender Equality report

Public consultation on equal pay – open until 5 April 2019

Call for proposals to prevent and combat gender-based violence and violence against children, youth people and women – open until 13 June 2019

Spotlight: EU action for women

 

Annex

Figure 1: Proportion of female members of the European Parliament, November 2018

Image 1

Source: European Parliament

Figure 2: Proportion of women and men on the boards of the largest publicly listed companies in the EU, October 2018

Image 2

Source: European Institute for Gender Equality, Gender Statistics Database

Figure 3: Proportion of women among board chairs and CEOs in largest publicly listed companies in the EU, 2003-2018

Image 3

Source: European Institute for Gender Equality, Gender Statistics Database

Key gender equality indicators

Image 4

Note: The best five performing countries are marked in green. The five least performing countries are marked in red.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How we overhauled healthcare amid Venezuela’s crisis

Is Germany yielding to pressures for more relaxed economic policies?

EU budget: Will Germany alone manage Britain’s gap?

Where EU air pollution is deadliest

EU: Centralised economic governance and bank supervision may lead to new crisis

On sidelines of UN climate summit, US President calls for protection of religious freedom

Comprehensive listening: a tool to humanize Primary Healthcare and medical specialties

FROM THE FIELD: Balancing act for Philippines farmers

The Junior Enterprise concept, one of the best ways to develop practical skills

Almost all businesses expect to face a crisis. And how they deal with them really counts

Changing for the change: Medicine in Industry 4.0

Another doomed EU attempt to interfere in Libya?

Making the move to more sustainable mobility – three steps for companies

State aid: Commission approves German scheme for very high capacity broadband networks in Bavaria

Engaging women and girls in science ‘vital’ for Sustainable Development Goals

Mechanism to protect democracy in the EU needed more than ever, says the EP

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

FROM THE FIELD: Stopping aquatic hitchhikers to safeguard environments at sea

‘Stay together and step up’ action to meet Global Goals, ECOSOC President tells development forum

Human rights chief calls for international probe on Venezuela, following ‘shocking accounts of extrajudicial killings’

Does the West play the Syrian game in Egypt?

South Sudan: €48.5 million in additional EU humanitarian aid

International Day of the Midwife: 5 things you should know

Doctors are humans too: the benefits of embracing your mental status

The Chinese film boom luring Hollywood’s stars

EU threatens Japan to suspend FTA negotiations if…

Ride-hailing apps are making the developing world’s traffic problems worse

China repels EU allegations of export subsidies

In Tunisia, budding entrepreneurs can take a year off their job

UN human rights chief denounces grave ‘assaults’ on fundamental rights of Palestinian people

Consumers suffer three defeats

Austerity ends in Eurozone, Germany is isolated

UN experts cite ‘possible exploitation’ of workers hired to clean up toxic Japanese nuclear plant

Smoking VS Vaping: is it a battle?

Inaction on obesity stands in the way of sustainable development

The Dead Sea is drying up, and these two countries have a plan to save it

How the future of computing can make or break the AI revolution

Big data is coming to agriculture. Farmers must set its course

GSMA Mobile 360 – MENA Dubai on 26-27 November 2019, in association with The European Sting

‘Eden bonds’: how rewilding could save the climate and your pension

Ebola in DR Congo: conflict zones could constitute ‘hiding places’ for the deadly virus – WHO chief

UN spotlights ‘explosive’ obesity rates, hunger in Latin America and Caribbean

Planet’s Health is Our Health and the Reverse is True

What the buoyant US economy means for the rest of the world

Addressing the consequences of digitalisation in the Russia & CIS region

Tax revenues have reached a plateau

Inclusion, equality a must for ‘long-lasting peace and sustainable development’, UN official tells high-level event in Baku

Meet the man who drove from the Netherlands to Australia without visiting a gas station

10 things you – and your government – should know about competitiveness in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

UN launches plan to promote peace, inclusive growth in Africa’s Sahel

Security Council calls for dialogue in Haiti

At last Germany to negotiate the costs for a really cohesive Eurozone

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: A European patent system can help European businesses lead industrial research and innovation on a global scale

Consumer protection: Commission welcomes political agreement by Council on the Representative Actions Directive

Haitian Foreign Minister calls for development reboot to close ‘striking gap’ between promises and action on ending poverty

UN Human Rights chief urges Venezuela to halt grave rights violations

Climate Change: A Healthcare Emergency

Financing the 2030 Agenda: What is it and why is it important?

‘Global sisterhood’ tells perpetrators ‘time is up’ for pandemic of violence

Election-related violence claims 85 lives in Afghanistan: UN report

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s