“We should not be shy about where we are or ambitious about where we want to go.”Ursula von der Leyen
Where do we stand with gender equality in Europe?
After 8 March, a reflection on this issue might be interesting. Indeed, the new European Commission has recently published a five-year strategy that could provide political guidelines on this topic. A Union of Equality: Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 is the first step towards the promotion of European values and treaties about social equality.
“In all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women.”Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
The strategy announced at the beginning of March, just before International Women’s Day, is ambitious and well-structured.To ensure an equal Europe for the new generations, the Commission proposes short-term goals that can lead to cultural growth. Indeed, anyone can contribute to the development and improvement of our society, regardless of gender.
The issues discussed by the Commission are cross-cutting and could not but include the widening gender-based violence.
The primary objective of the European Union is to ensure protection and justice for the victim. However, at the same time, the punishment of perpetrators of violence must be certain and severe. The implementation of the “Istanbul Convention” is an essential step towards achieving the Commission’s goals. Therefore, prevention remains essential. Through the education of the new generations, it is possible to shape future society.
Gender-based violence is escalating across Europe, and consequently, the intention is to create an EU network on the prevention of gender-based violence and domestic violence. The European Union is a key player in creating a safe and open environment for women who need it.
Indeed, it is essential to harness human potential at its highest level and women can contribute with a primary role to the change – especially digital – that is coming. Women can represent a huge creative and social resource, keeping in mind their economic impact. The prosperity of the Union depends on all its citizens, who have the right to be equally paid and independent.
From this point of view, the wage gap between men and women is still persistent. Even in the most advanced countries of the Eurozone, the difference is noticeable and there are few incentives for women. A woman during her life may hold different roles – worker, wife, mother – none of which are really valued and economically recognized.
The aim is to invest in the economic future of women and make it transparent. there are many tools that can be used, starting with incentives for working mothers, wage adjustments and ending with bridging the pensions gap.
This is the key feature of the strategy. Establishing themselves in the world of work, business, science, art and politics does not depend on gender. In contrast, in the last decade, women have shown a strong decision-making capacity and the tenacity needed to play leading roles at the top of international politics.
Thanks to the Horizon Europe project, the European Commission intends to implement new economic and social measures. Women should be able to stand out for exactly what they are, without having to give up their individual characteristics. New opportunities related to artificial intelligence, green transition and demographic challenge involve women and need to be supported in order to thrive and be valued.
Neutral meritocracy, accompanied by healthy boldness and willingness, must lead the change.
The efforts carried out by the European Commission must be meticulously implemented within the countries in order to produce the minimum result. On the other hand, the economy would need considerable financial back-up to provide the economic cover needed for the change. It may not be easy, but the commitment must be bilateral – civil society and institutions – to be able to create a different Europe for future generations of women. A Europe of equity and solidarity.
“Working together, we can make real progress by 2025 in achieving a Europe where women and men, girls and boys, in all their diversity, are equal – where they are free to pursue their chosen path in life and reach their full potential, where they have equal opportunities to thrive, and where they can equally participate in and lead our European society.”A Union of Equality: Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 , European Commission