Statements

New EU Strategy for Gender Equality: Some Initial Comments (September 2010)

The European Commission on 21 September 2010 released its five year Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015 to follow-up on the Roadmap 2006-2010. The EWL has welcomed this new document, while at the same time is eager to ensure that the political messages of the Strategy will be transformed into concrete and binding measures and legislation which go beyond the Women’s Charter launched by the Commission in March this year.

Positive novel elements outlined by the Strategy are:

  • The holding of an annual top-level Gender Equality Dialogue amongst key stakeholders; the EWL stresses the importance of the presence of key women’s organisations at such fora;
  • The establishment of an annual European Equal Pay Day;
  • Some new measures in relation to particular areas such as women and fisheries or women’s entrepreneurship.

The EWL makes the following recommendations in relation to the implementation of the Strategy:

  • Many of the points in the document remain vague and will need to be made more concrete, for example the important points relating to the use of European funds to achieve some of the gender equality objectives;
  • We regret the focus, in the economic policy section on growth and employment rates with not enough measures dedicated to the quality of women’s employment and hope this will be redressed;
  • The Strategy should lead to the adoption of binding measures to ensure parity in decision-making in the European Institutions and in the private sector, especially given the recent statements made by the Commission in this respect;
  • In relation to violence against women, the European strategy needs to recognise all forms of violence against women, including genital mutilation and sexual. We therefore request that the Commission takes into account the full range of violence against women in order to give a strong signal of political will to protect the human rights of women and eliminate gender inequalities. It is hoped that the strategy will be implemented through legislation that tackles not only female genital mutilation, but all forms of violence;
  • Reference to women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights is absent from the document and there is a need for more coherence between the EU’s external and internal policies in this regard.

The success of the Strategy will depend on its implementation. For this, the EWL has stressed the importance of coordinated action on gender equality at the European and national levels, calling for strong, visible and well-resourced coordination mechanisms within the European Commission. The EWL counts on the commitment of the EU Presidencies to ensure the endorsement by the Member States of ambitious objectives for the implementation of the strategy at the national level.

Read the full five-year Strategy.

Read the EWL Press Release.

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