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The economic independence of women is crucial to achieving equality between women and men. Women’s employment rate (62.1%) is nowhere close to the EU target of 75%, and work patterns continue to reflect traditional gender roles: women are four times more likely than men to work part-time; the average hourly pay-gap in the EU stands at 16.4%; the employment rate for women falls by 12.1 percentage points when they have children under 12, while it rises by 8.7 points for men. Social protection systems continue to be based on career models which rarely reflect women’s working life patterns.

 

Real equality requires real choices

Posted on 11 June 2010

For the EWL, ensuring women’s economic independence is key to the promotion of gender equality. This includes integrating a strong gender equality dimension into European employment, poverty and social policies; working towards the elimination of sex-based discrimination in employment and pay; and making the link between paid and unpaid work. The issue of care, particularly lack of quality, accessible and affordable care services, is a barrier to women’s full participation in the labour-market; the EWL calls for the development of a care economy in the context of the EU 2020 Strategy, the future new European economic and social strategy.

For a comprehensive overview of the current situation in terms of women’s socio-economic position in the EU, and the most recent European policies in this area, see the chapter in the EWL’s Beijing+15 Report on Women and the Economy, as well as the chapter on Women and Poverty.

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