CESI statement on public consultation on a new EU gender equality strategy 2020-2024

As part of its work programme for the year 2020, the European Commission is currently drafting a new EU gender equality strategy for the years 2020-2024. In a public consultation by the European Commission, CESI made concrete suggestions as to which components an ambitious gender equality should entail in order to progress towards more gender parity across the different domains of employment and societal and domestic life.

The main considerations for a new EU gender equality strategy laid out in CESI’s statement include to the following:

• The European Commission should make sure that the new Directive 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers is implemented properly and swiftly in all EU Member States.

• As part of the European Semester and in line with a much-discussed Child Guarantee, the European Commission should encourage all Member States to invest in childcare with a view to establishing a legal right for all parents for free public early childhood education and care for their children.

• As an indirect way to help reduce wage (and thus pension) gaps, a new EU directive on pay transparency should give flesh to the already existing obligation for Member States to eliminate direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of sex with regard to all aspects and conditions of remuneration for the same work or for work to which equal value is attributed.

• The EU should swiftly advance in its agenda for a binding framework for minimum wages at national levels which should effectively eliminate exploitative and indecently low salaries especially in low-income sectors in which female employment is disproportionally high.

• The EU should also ensure a proper implementation of the directives on part-time work, fixed-term work and temporary agency work. There is an inherent gender dimension in this as, for instance in the case of part-time work, in some countries 96% of workers in this type of employment are women.

• The European Commission should monitor the implementation of the Council recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed by the Member States in particular with a view to detecting structural discrimination, disadvantages and/or risks for women in the area of access to social protection.

• As part of the European Semester, the European Commission should call on Member States to ensure that reduced working time, as a result of a special urgency to care for relatives in need to assistance, will be eligible for adequate pension benefits.

• As part of the European Semester, the European Commission should encourage Member States to attain gender parity in the management positions of their public institutions, entities, bodies and authorities. Moreover, the European Commission should continue to push the adoption of the Women on boards directive as a way to improve ratio of women in management positions in the private sector and help them break glass ceilings. Mandatory and functioning gender equality plans should be encouraged in all public and private bodies to ensure an adequate progress towards gender parity in management positions.

CESI’s full statement is available here. More information about the consultation in general is available on the European Commission’s website