Politics and Analysis

Positive measures in the Commission's plans for strengthened gender equality


On Thursday 5 March, the European Commission launched its gender equality strategy. A strategy which, besides helping women, aims at helping more people enter the labour market and to bring an end to the gender-imbalanced labour market.

According to the Commission’s gender equality strategy, Ursula von der Leyen heads an EU Commission that wants to fight gender stereotypes, close the labour market gender gap and highlight the current gender imbalance in the education system. If the strategy is implemented properly, it will not just benefit Europe’s women, it will benefit the whole of European society.

- There are several positive aspects to the gender equality strategy that will benefit companies too. And I am glad that the Commission is preparing to involve stakeholders and social partners in the process, says Christiane Miβlbeck-Winberg, Director of European and International Affairs at the Confederation of Danish Employers (DA).

It is positive that the EU Commission will put pressure on member states to make sure more women enter into employment. For example, the strategy includes proposals for better childcare opportunities, raising awareness of the reasons behind the gender-imbalanced labour market and a desire to involve social partners when it comes to finding concrete solutions.

The strategy also includes a proposal for achieving greater pay transparency. This is an initiative that indicates that the Commission is confusing discrimination with different wage levels. The reason behind the lower average wage of women compared to the average wage of men is, to a great extent caused by the gender-imbalanced on labour markets and not by discrimination in the workplace, says Christiane Miβlbeck-Winberg, and continues:

- Right now, it is unclear in which direction the Commission will go when it comes to the pay transparency instrument. But I would like to make it clear that new rules – in the form of for example a directive – will not change the underlying challenge, namely that the gender-imbalanced labour market is the main reason behind the differences in wages. So, rather than to be looking at regulation and directives, I hope the Commission will look at the cultural and structural reason behind it. This could very well be done through the European Semester.

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