Statement by the European Commission ahead of International Women's Day 2020
Ahead of the International Women's Day, the European Commission issued the following statement:
"Gender equality is a core principle of the European Union. Yet it is still not a reality. In business, politics and society as a whole, we can only reach our full potential if we use all of our talent and diversity. Women face too many hurdles and barriers on their way. In Europe and beyond, women continue to be targets of gender-based violence, stereotypes and hate speech.
Even if Europe is a good address for women, the numbers are telling: one in three women in the EU was subject to physical and/or sexual violence. Even though more women graduate from universities, they earn on average 16% less than men do. Only 8% of CEO's of the EU's largest companies are women.
This is not what our Union stands for. Everyone, regardless of his or her gender, should be able to live free from violence and pursue his or her chosen path in life.
We need a change and the moment is now. Ahead of the International Women's Day on 8 March, we need to remember: progress towards equality between women and men is neither inevitable nor irreversible.
This is why, the Commission adopted the EU's Gender Equality Strategy, setting out concrete actions for the next 5 years, including on pay transparency.
The Strategy is also the EU's contribution to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action - the first universal commitment and action plan to advance on equality between women and men – which marks this year the 25th anniversary since its adoption. The EU will continue to support, promote and protect women's rights and women empowerment, while tackling gender-based violence, including in fragile, conflict and emergency situations.”
Delivering on the commitments made by President Ursula von der Leyen, the first female President of the European Commission, in her political guidelines, yesterday, Vice-President Vera Jourová and Commissioner Helena Dalli presented the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025. The actions outlined in the Strategy include, among others, legislation to prevent and combat specific forms of gender based violence, a campaign to combat gender stereotypes; enforcing work-life balance measures, and equal pay measures; pushing for achieving gender-balance in decision-making and politics.
As one of the first actions, the Commission launched yesterday a public consultation on pay transparency with an aim of tabling binding measures by the end of 2020. The core challenges affecting the EU today, including the climate and digital transformations, have a gender dimension. Thus, the Strategy commits to ensure that the Commission will include an equality perspective in all EU policy areas.
The Strategy also includes external actions to promote gender equality in third countries. The EU will continue and strengthen its efforts towards gender equality around the world, as part of the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Building on the current Gender Action Plan (2016-2020), the Commission jointly with the European External Action Service will present a new Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in External Relations by the end of 2020. The launch of the Spotlight Initiative by the European Commission together with the United Nations specifically addresses gender-based violence at global level.
For More Information
Factsheet (available in all EU languages)
Open call for proposals on closing gender gaps – deadline 1 April 2020
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