Equality and Gender in Europe
A critical analysis
The gender equality policy of the European Union (EU) is founded on a uniform approach encompassing:
- mainstreaming and
- specific measures, or so-called affirmative action.
Funding is also available within the scope of action programmes, principally from the PROGRESS and Daphne financial programmes and the European Social Fund (ESF).
The EU’s gender equality policy primarily focuses on the gainful employment market, where numerous instruments to accelerate access to the labour market and the elimination of discrimination have been and continue to be provided.
A further area of gender equality policy encompasses measures to reduce the use of gender stereotypes, thwart discrimination against women in advertising and combat violence against women. In these areas, a more consistent and effective approach is required from the EU.
A discrepancy exists between the directives on gender equality and the economic goals of the EU. Indeed, gender mainstreaming is still afforded a somewhat subordinate role within the current Lisbon Treaty, Monetary and stability policy rules are protected by EU laws in which gender equality is not addressed. Macroeconomics is determined to be ‘gender neutral’, accordingly implying a genderless economy, in contrast to labour market policy, which certainly takes a more gender-sensitive approach in its attempt to reconcile work and family life, increase employment rates for women, eliminate the pay gap and promote women in decision-making positions.
Following the last European Parliament elections in 2009, the Standing Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is again a driving force behind important women’s and gender-equality policy initiatives within the European Parliament. The Committee actively involved in the debate on the gender equality strategy of the EU as it pursues the current Roadmap for equality Moreover, the Committee also advocates more consistent consideration of questions of gender equality, EU economic and external policy.
An interesting aspect for the future development of gender equality policy in the EU and its member states will be the development of the European Institute for Gender Equality which, following a lengthy and difficult process, was finally able to commence work in June 2010Observers will be interested to note the Institute succeeds in providing new impetus through its work on gender equality in the EU.
additional shift in focus towards a more general anti-discrimination policy. A far greater risk is that presented by the increasing escalation of the financial and economic crisis in the European Union and the associated rescue attempts, which threaten to wipe both equality and anti-discrimination policy from the current political agenda.
- Equality and Gender in Europe
- EU Treaties | Directives | Legal Regulations
- European Union (EU) Working and Action Programmes
- European Commission: "Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015"
- Institutions Of The EU Commission And Parliament
- Political groups in the European Parliament
- References, Sources and Debates