Today, after years of calls from Socialists and Democrats, the European Commission has finally adopted a new comprehensive gender equality strategy. As promised within her first 100 days in office, Helena Dalli, the new progressive Commissioner for equality, has come up with an ambitious plan for the next 5 years on how to tackle inequalities and discrimination that persists between women and men. The proposed actions include: ending gender-based violence and stereotypes; ensuring equal participation and opportunities in the labour market, including equal pay; and achieving gender-balance in decision-making and politics.
Iratxe Garcia, S&D Group president said:
“We welcome this strategy and the work done by Commissioner Helena Dalli. The S&Ds have been calling for such integral plan for a long time. There is no time to waste to make sure that the gender-equality dimension is mainstreamed with effective measures throughout all policies. There are many unfair situations going on for too long and it is time to change that.
“Women represent half of the population but we are underrepresented in the economic and political decision-making, we have a lower employment rate and we earn less than men. Furthermore, every day women are murdered all around the world for the simple reason of being women. We have to concentrate all our efforts to eradicate this social scourge.”
Maria Noichl, S&D coordinator in the committee on women's rights and gender equality, said:
“After years without any European gender equality strategy, I am delighted that we finally have a plan with common goals and the necessary measures in the area of women's rights and gender equality in the EU. I especially appreciate the commitment to fight gender bias and stereotypes that are one of the main reasons for discrimination. Fighting gender stereotypes is a must if we want to achieve full equality!
“I also applaud the fact that the Commission is launching today a public consultation on pay transparency and commits to propose binding measures by the end of this year to finally end pay inequalities in Europe. Internally, the plan to reach 50% gender balance at all levels of the Commission’s management by the end of 2024 also deserves to be highlighted.
“However, the strategy itself can only be a beginning, considering the backlash against women's rights and gender equality policies we are witnessing across Europe. Thus, the implementation of the strategy needs to be as efficient and comprehensive as the text itself. We should not waste more time. The Istanbul Convention must urgently be ratified, or - if it remains blocked – a plan B to introduce other legal measures next year to eliminate violence against women must be set in motion as soon as possible. The S&Ds are committed to support Dalli’s dedicated fight to achieve full gender equality.”