A European Strategy for Gender Equality

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A European Strategy for Gender Equality:
Combating Discrimination in the Workplace and Beyond
Date: Wednesday 20th April 2016
Time: 10:00am — 4:30pm
Venue: NH Brussels Carrefour de l’Europe

“Gender equality is a fundamental right recognised by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 as well as by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The promotion of gender equality is therefore not only essential from a human rights perspective, but also makes sense from an economic viewpoint. It means equal access to resources, as well as empowerment and visibility of both women and men in all spheres of public and private life.

In order to reinforce the continuous work made so far, the European Commission released in December 2015 a Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016-2019 which sets the framework for the Commission’s future work towards the promotion of gender equality. The Council of Europe, through its Europe Gender Equality Strategy (2014-2017) has also set guidelines that will lead the activities of the organisation towards its ambitious achievements.

“Gender equality is not a battle of the sexes, it’s a battle for equality, a battle that men and women must wage side-by-side. The empowerment of women is about the empowerment of humanity.”

Liz Broderick, former Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, November 2015

Although inequalities still exist, the EU has made significant progress over the last decades, mainly thanks to equal treatment legislation, gender mainstreaming – such as the integration of the gender perspective into all other policies – and specific measures for the advancement of women. However, more efforts are required: gender gaps in the labour market remain, women are still under-represented in decision-making positions and over-represented in lower paid sectors. Women are still earning on average 16% less than men for each hour worked and continue to face big challenges addressing entrepreneurship – on average, from the 52% of the total European population, only 34,4% of the EU self-employed are female and 30% of start-up entrepreneurs. Addressing gender equality therefore signifies guaranteeing women the same levels of economic independence that men benefit from, ensuring that the pay gap is minimised and ultimately erased, and providing them with equal access to decision-making and managerial positions.

This timely symposium provides an invaluable opportunity to discuss the latest developments in combating gender-based discrimination at European level. The symposium will explore how social, cultural and political obstacles can be overcome in order to implement innovative policies that will put an end to gender discrimination in the workplace and in society. Public Policy Exchange welcomes the participation of all key partners, responsible authorities and stakeholders. The Symposium will support the exchange of ideas and encourage delegates to engage in thought-provoking topical debate.”

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