The EESC issues between 160 and 190 opinions and information reports a year.
It also organises several annual initiatives and events with a focus on civil society and citizens’ participation such as the Civil Society Prize, the Civil Society Days, the Your Europe, Your Say youth plenary and the ECI Day.
The EESC brings together representatives from all areas of organised civil society, who give their independent advice on EU policies and legislation. The EESC's326 Members are organised into three groups: Employers, Workers and Various Interests.
The EESC has six sections, specialising in concrete topics of relevance to the citizens of the European Union, ranging from social to economic affairs, energy, environment, external relations or the internal market.
This exploratory opinion responds to the request made by the Swedish presidency by proposing questions for further consideration and drawing up recommendations for the relevant actors.
Generally, the method of calculating growth must be reviewed (GDP is not a sufficient indicator).
More specifically, the EESC recommends that Member States work towards gender equality:
by promoting employment for women in order to boost their economic independence;
by requiring equal access to vocational training and lifelong learning, placing more emphasis on experience and diversity;
by offering flexible ways of organising working time, by enhancing care services and improving childcare and by encouraging men to do their share of family tasks;
by supporting business start-ups and transfers by women, and improving their access to finance;
by ensuring that the gender perspective is taken into account in the short-, medium- and long-term measures taken in the light of the economic and financial crisis;
by reducing in-work poverty among women by stepping up access to a secure job and a decent wage and pension.
The Commission is requested to monitor and evaluate Member States' efforts to implement the roadmap for equality between women and men, and become a forum for exchanging good practice and experience.
The Committee calls on the social partners to implement their common framework for action on gender equality effectively, to improve instruments for combating job segregation and to professionalise jobs providing services to individuals.
Political leaders and civil society actors are reminded of the need to increase the number of women in the decision-making bodies of administrations and big companies, to consider establishing "time credit" to enable parents to reconcile working and family life, and to improve the availability and facilitate the establishment of household support services.