The European Commission released its Gender Equality Strategy for 2020-2025 on 5 March, aimed at achieving a Union of Equality.
“As our society is undergoing important transitions, be it green or digital, we must ensure that women and men have equal opportunities and that inequalities are not further exacerbated by change”, European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová said. *
The strategy, overseen by Jourová, presents political guidelines to achieve equality for all, in all senses, and sets out key actions for the three main European institutions in the coming years. This includes gender mainstreaming aimed at introducing an equality perspective in all EU policy areas and initiatives adopted by the European Commission. A Taskforce of Equality will be created to ensure the concrete implementation.
Key actions outlined in the strategy include:
• Actions to eliminate gender-based violence and gender stereotypes (creation of measures to prevent and combat gender-based violence, adding violence against women to the list of EU crimes & encouraging all member states to ratify the Istanbul Convention as well as an EU-wide campaign to tackle gender stereotypes)
• Actions to achieve a gender-equal economy (proposing binding measures on pay transparency & supporting women to find jobs in sectors with skills shortages, as well as develop these skills)
• Actions to increase women’s leadership and participation in society (introducing gender quotas for both public and private sectors and promoting participation of women in the next European elections)
In past years, women have seen huge changes in their rights and representation, but full equality is far from being reached. No EU Member State has achieved full equality between men and women.
Although the European Commission has the highest number of female Commissioners and a female President, at the moment, only 30.2% of Members of Parliament in Europe are women and in 2017, only 18% of National Ministries were led by women. This needs to change and there still is much to be done.
As European liberals, we believe that all women are entitled to full enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and that a fair, free, open, prosperous and sustainable Europe requires men and women to be equal in power, leadership and decision-making. The strength of decisions comes from diversity and when women hold positions of power, they can experience freedom.
We believe that it is necessary to lead by example. This is why, in 2016, we launched our European Women’s Academy (EWA) of political leadership and campaigning to support liberal women in winning elections at all levels of government. Find more about the programme here.
To find more about the European Gender Equality strategy click here.
*See the full press conference here.