EPSCO Council: CESI welcomes call for real EU gender equality strategy

Finding very clear words, the EPSCO Council yesterday called on the Commission to bin its informal working document on gender equality engagement and come forward with a comprehensive EU gender equality strategy for 2016-2019. Prior to the Council's debate, CESI had written a letter to the Luxembourgish Presidency, inviting it to help push the Commission towards a real EU gender equality strategy. With the current strategy expiring at the end of this year, the Commission has so far refused to go beyond a low-level working document on its envisaged future gender equality engagement. CESI hopes that the Council's action will change this.

EPSCO Council: CESI welcomes call for real EU gender equality strategy

During the Council debate, a large number of member states stressed that a formal strategy endorsed by the Commission is needed and expressed their disappointment in having received an informal working document instead.

Disappointment among ministers about Commission’s approach 

Many member states declared that a new strategy covering the period 2016-2019 was essential for the promotion for gender equality and as a benchmark and guiding framework for national policies, focussing on the following five priority areas:
• equal economic independence for women and men;
• equal pay for work of equal value;
• equality in decision-making;
• dignity, integrity and ending gender-based violence; and
• promoting gender equality beyond the EU.

The ministers then adopted draft conclusions which call on the Commission “to adopt, as a Communication, a new Strategy for gender equality after 2015”.

Kirsten Lühmann: “Council action will hopefully change the Commission’s view”

Kirsten Lühmann, President of CESI’s internal Commission on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, said: “We, together with the European Women’s Lobby, sent a letter to the Luxembourgish Council Presidency prior to the EPSCO debate, urging it to work towards a strong recommendation to the Commission to adopt an EU gender equality strategy for 2016-2019 in the form of a formal communication. It is a scandal that despite continued gender inequality in many areas, the Commission has so far only been prepared to work on the basis of an informal working document on gender equality engagement. I hope EPSCO’s call will change this.”
The full letter can be accessed here.