The European Women’s Lobby (EWL), the largest coalition of women’s organisations in the European Union, has been highlighting the need for the Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015 and the Europe 2020 Strategy to be accompanied by a strong instrument agreed by Member States and therefore welcomes the new European Pact for Gender Equality. Such a coordination tool between the European Commission and the Council, between the European and the national level, and finally between general socio-economic instruments and women’s rights specific instruments, is the most effective option to ensure policy coordination and a positive impact of the different instruments on all women living in Europe.
The EWL welcomes the renewed commitment of the Member States to the fulfilment of the EU Treaty ambitions in relation to equality between women and men and in particular the strong language that is used, in relation to ‘eliminating’ gender stereotypes, ‘closing’ gender gaps in employment, promoting the ‘equal’ participation of women and men in decision-making and ‘combating’ all forms of violence against women. However, the EWL regrets that no binding concrete measures, including targets, are foreseen in the Pact, except the renewed commitment to the Barcelona childcare objectives.
Finally, the Council in the Pact states that gender equality policies are ‘vital to economic growth, prosperity and competitiveness’. This has led to a narrowed down approach to women’s rights and gender equality in the economic area, where the main focus is to increase women’s employment in quantitative terms. More generally, the EWL regrets that the issue of equality between women and men is approached through this predominantly economic perspective, which is of course important, but this issue is therefore not put in the framework of human rights, which are at the core of European values, aiming at reaching equality between women and men and guaranteeing women’s rights and human rights for all, ensuring dignity, democracy justice and integrity.
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