This Strategy follows on from the roadmap 2006-2010 for equality between women and men. It takes up the priorities defined by the women’s charter and forms the Commission’s work programme. It also outlines the key actions planned for the period 2010-2015.
This Strategy also acts a basis for the cooperation between the Commission and the other European institutions, Member States and other stakeholders, as part of the European Pact for equality between women and men.
Economic independence of women
The female employment rate has increased significantly during the past decade. However, this progression needs to continue if the objective of a 75% employment rate, as set by the Europe 2020 strategy, is to be met. It also needs to be extended to those groups of women with the lowest employment rates. Progress is needed in order to improve the quality of jobs and work/life reconciliation policies.
The Commission will undertake initiatives aimed at:
- promoting equality as part of the Europe 2020 strategy and through EU funding;
- promoting female entrepreneurship and self-employment;
- assessing workers’ rights with regard to leave for family reasons;
- assessing Member States’ performance with regard to childcare facilities;
- supporting gender equality in matters of immigration and the integration of migrants.
The Commission highlights that the gender pay gap still exists, including for equal work and work of equal value. There are many causes of this pay gap, in particular, segregation in education and in the labour market.
In order to contribute towards eliminating unequal pay, the Commission will:
- with social partners, explore possible ways to improve the transparency of pay;
- support equal pay initiatives in the workplace such as equality labels, ‘charters’ and awards;
- institute a European Equal Pay Day;
- seek to encourage women to enter non-traditional professions, for example in the ‘green’ and innovative sectors.
Equality in decision-making
Women are under-represented in the decision-making process, both in parliaments and national governments and on management boards of large companies, despite making up half the workforce and more than half of new university graduates in the EU.
The Commission will:
- propose targeted initiatives to improve the situation;
- monitor progress made towards achieving the 25% target for women in top-level decision-making positions in research;
- promote an increase in the number of women in the committees and expert groups established by the Commission, with the aim of achieving at least 40% female membership;
- promote greater participation of women in European Parliament elections.
Dignity, integrity and an end to gender-based violence
According to estimates, 20 to 25% of women living in the EU have suffered physical violence at least once during their lives and up to half a million women living in Europe have been subjected to genital mutilation.
The Commission will:
- propose an EU-wide strategy on combating violence;
- ensure that EU asylum legislation takes account of gender equality considerations;
- monitor gender issues in the field of health.
Gender equality in external actions
The EU’s external policy will contribute towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. In this respect, the Commission will:
- progress equal treatment between women and men in the candidate and potential candidate countries for accession to the EU;
- implement the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development (2010-2015);
- conduct a regular dialogue and exchange of experience with the European Neighbourhood Policy partner countries;
- integrate equal treatment considerations into humanitarian aid operations.
The Commission is committed to progressing equal treatment between women and men, paying particular attention to:
- the role of men in gender equality;
- disseminating good practice on redefining gender roles in youth, education, culture and sport;
- the correct implementation of European legislation, particularly Directive 2004/113/EC on equal treatment in the access to and supply of goods and services and Directive 2006/54/EC on equal opportunities;
- the governance and tools of gender equality, particularly through the drafting of an annual report on gender equality in order to contribute to a yearly top-level Gender Equality Dialogue involving the European Parliament, the Commission, Member States and key stakeholders.