EWL News

Progress on gender equality needed if EU is to meet 2020 economic and financial goals

[Brussels, 20 June 2012] The EWL this week addressed the European Conference ‘Gendering the Flagships’ which gave a clear message to Europe’s economic decision-makers: Reaching the Europe 2020 objectives is unrealistic without a strenghened commitment to gender equality in all economic and financial decisions.

The conference - an initiative of the European Commission (DG Employment) and the European Community of Practice on Gender Mainstreaming (GenderCop.eu) - was on the need to promote a gender perspective in the so called ‘Flagship’ initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Different experts as well as Commission representatives voiced a clear discontent with the fact that gender equality is not manistreamed in the Flagships or the Europe 2020 Strategy as a whole. They also pointed to clear signs of gender slipping off the agenda in EU policies in general as the gender dimension is increasingly being merged with ‘minority’ or abstract ‘fundamental rights’ issues.

A particularly clear argument came from one of the keynote speakers, the acclaimed sociologist Sylvia Walby, who presented a gender perspective on sustainable economic growth.

The core of her message is that we are at an epochal moment for economy as well as gender equality in the EU. Decision-makers are roughly divided into two opposing strands in the crucial economic negotiations currently carried out on behalf of the European citizens: one side holds that inequality is good for growth and so is deregulation and cuts in public services, while another strand advocates a model more centered on social inclusion as the way forward.

Women are more at risk of poverty than men in all of the EU countries

Ms. Walby noted that the EU is still a lighthouse for the rest of the world in terms of gender equality, but this is a crucial moment in our history where things can take a turn for the worse or for the better. This depends on the decisions taken now. Now is the time to ensure that we achieve parity in economic decision-making as a means to create a new and gendered financial and economic architecture.

The gender blind political course taken in response to the crisis already has visible implications, as pointed out by Policy Officer Mary Collins, who represented the EWL at a workshop panel.

Ms. Collins stressed the urgent need to address the feminisation of European poverty. She argued that there is an urgent need to give visibility to the gender dimension in poverty and to the root causes of women being more at risk of poverty than men in every single EU country. A gender dimension is crucial when we address poverty and social exclusion. The EWL therefore calls for a strengthened visibility of the Flagship initiative European Platform against Poverty and that the EU set specific gendered targets for combating poverty and social exclusion.

More info:

The Flagships are part of the Europe 2020 strategy. The EU has identified new engines to boost growth and jobs. These areas are addressed by 7 flagship initiatives.

Within each initiative, both the EU and national authorities have to coordinate their efforts so they are mutually reinforcing. Most of these initiatives have been presented by the Commission in 2010.

The three Flagship themes addressed at the conference were:

  1. An Agenda for New Skills and Jobs
  2. Youth on the Move
  3. The European Platform against Poverty

You can visit the conference webpage and programme here.

Latest video

Loud and United to end violence against women and girls, European Women’s Lobby Conference, 6 December 2017, Brussels.

Find more videos on our Youtube channel

Facebook Feed

Get Involved