European Commission’s Report on Equality between Women and Men – 2014

“The present report outlines the progress achieved in 2014 in the six priority areas of the Commission’s 2010-15 strategy for equality between women and men. It is a way for the Commission to review EU and Member State action on gender equality and identify remaining challenges and gender gaps, on the basis of updated information and statistics.
It strengthens the EU’s accountability and lays the ground for evidence-based policie. Although gender gaps have narrowed in recent decades, inequalities within and between Member States have grown overall and challenges remain in critical areas:
• gender gaps in employment and decision-making have narrowed in recent years, but women still account for less than a quarter of company board members, despite representing almost half of the employed workforce (46%). Also, the extent of gender equality varies substantially across Member States and has not reached everyone. Deficient work-life balance policies hamper women’s employment and therefore the potential for economic growth;
• progress in closing the gender pay and pension gaps has been frustratingly slow. The former is stagnant at 16% and the latter has reached 39%. Occupational segregation is still widespread and women tend to be concentrated in less well-paid sectors;
• Men drop out of school more often and perform less well in reading. Women are more likely to have a higher education degree but are significantly under-represented in STEM studies and careers, in research and in senior posts at all levels of education, including higher education;
• the prevalence of gender-based violence is still alarmingly high. A third of women in the EU have experienced physical or sexual violence;
• while a few national parliaments and governments are about to reach gender parity, women still account for less than a third of ministers and members of parliaments in the vast majority of Member States. At this rate of change, it would take another 70 years to achieve gender equality. Therefore, active policy initiatives are needed to accelerate progress and meet the expectation of citizens. Nearly all Europeans (94%) agree that equality between women and men is a fundamental right and a large majority of citizens (76%) believe that tackling inequality between women and men should be a priority for the EU.”
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