Equality between women and men is a fundamental right and a common principle of the European Union. The EU has made a major contribution to the advancement of women and the improvement of women’s and men’s lives through a substantial body of equal treatment legislation and the explicit integration of the gender dimension into EU policies and instruments. There is a positive trend towards a more gender-equal society and labour market, yet gender inequalities persist, mainly to the disadvantage of women.
The current economic crisis has raised concerns that the achievements in gender equality are at risk and that the effects of the recession will put greater pressure on women. The downturn could be used as a reason to limit or cut gender equality measures, and analysis of national responses to the crisis confirms this risk. However, these times of crisis offer a unique opportunity for change, given that gender equality is a precondition for sustainable growth, employment, competitiveness and social cohesion. Policy makers have the opportunity to implement policies to make the labour market and society more gender-equal in the future.”
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