Kirsten Lühmann on the International Women’s Day: ‘Commit to a Europe of social fairness and gender equality’

March 8 is International Women’s Day. Celebrated under the auspices of the UN every year since 1977, the day recalls persisting and widespread gender inequalities around the world. This year’s theme is ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Women in the changing world of work’ – a UN initiative which asks governments and societies to close gender equality gaps within the next 13 years. Kirsten Lühmann, President of CESI’s Commission on Women’s Rights and Equality, translates this into the European context: For her, EU leaders must finally commit to a Europe of social fairness and full gender equality.

“On March 25, EU leaders will gather in Rome to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties. On this occasion they are expected to adopt a declaration on how they see the future of the EU and the European integration project as a whole. This is a much-needed opportunity to finally commit to a Europe which puts an end to gender-based discrimination. Last year, during extensive consultations on how to build such a Europe, CESI and its Commission on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality positioned themselves clearly vis-à-vis the European institutions and decision-makers.

We expect the European Commission to publish as soon as possible an ambitious European Pillar of Social Rights, which should incorporate an equally ambitious gender equality dimension. Above all, it should put into practice last year’s roadmap of the European Commission on work-life balance.

Encouraging a further equal sharing of domestic responsibilities between men and women and giving new opportunities for single parents to reconcile employment and running a household must be an absolute priority for policy makers. This ranges, for instance, from enhanced maternity leave rules, a better take-up of parental leave by fathers and the introduction of new carers’ leave schemes to more affordable and accessible child and elderly care services, a more equal access for women to managerial positions, less discriminatory promotion practices and further steps to reduce gender pay and pensions gaps.

National and EU leaders have a full agenda to deliver and I count on the Rome summit to deliver a strong pledge.”

Picture: Kirsten Lühmann © dbb 2017