8 March is International Women’s Day. The day marks the wide-scale progress made towards achieving gender equality and combating gender-based injustice, but also serves as an important impetus to ensure the spotlight remains on continued work towards realising these goals across the globe.
The European Union has been committed to achieving gender equality, both at home and across the globe, since its foundation. Through its steadfast commitment to the basic principle that all citizens should have the same possibility to improve their lives and to participate in the labour market regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation, the European Union has helped to make significant progress towards achieving gender equality and eliminating discrimination. However, there is still significant work to be done, and inequalities need to be addressed both in the short and long-term.
Eurofound has an important role to play in assisting in the development of better social, employment and work-related policies for all EU citizens and those that call Europe home. Evidence-based research is a fundamental stepping-stone on this path to gender equity.
Although the principle of gender equality is clear, closing the gender employment gap in Europe is a complex issue. Measures that have been successful in closing the gap go well beyond traditional labour market policies and include integrated measures related to adult and childcare support, paid parental and adult-care leave, and flexible working arrangements. On a more fundamental level, a gradual cultural shift tackling the persistence of gender stereotypes and fostering a shared and more equal division of family responsibility is also urgently needed in many Member States.
In preparation for International Women’s Day we invite you to explore the issue of gender equality in depth, to read about the different areas in which gender equality is most urgently needed – because at Eurofound providing the knowledge needed to develop policies that ensure gender equality in life and work continues to be a top priority.
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