Gender lens investing as a way to improve gender equality in the European Union

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Key points

The EESC:

  • strongly believes that by creating a fertile ground for women entrepreneurship and the adequate financial and legislative instruments, such as gender budgeting, we can create an inclusive financial ecosystem in the EU and Member States and advance faster towards gender equality;
  • stresses that the EU should collect gender-disaggregated data in the European context of investments and integrate them into the annual Gender Equality Index;
  • finds it important to provide women with more networking and training opportunities and mentoring programmes. In addition to this, the EESC stresses the importance of education in challenging gender stereotypes and in building an entrepreneurial culture that prepares women to think big;
  • suggests that diversity of teams with a specific focus on women should be a criterion for receiving public funding. It is important to set specific standards so as to avoid "pinkwashing";
  • recommends that all European authorities and Member States should use gender budgeting tools at all levels of the budgetary process. The participation of civil society and social dialogue are also crucial in order to detect the areas that need to be addressed through the budget;
  • considers that all juries of European financial institutions should achieve gender balance as soon as possible to avoid homophily or "similar attracts similar" bias. In addition, awareness campaigns and unconscious bias training for investors and juries is important;
  • suggests that the Commission publishes a gender impact assessment of the annual EU budget and creates a task force to align and include gender mainstreaming EU objectives in the next and current MFFs;
  • calls for EU funds to be made more accessible to women's organisations by simplifying procedures and providing grants for their core activity;
  • calls for an ambitious vision from the European Commission and the European institutions on gender budgeting and gender lens investing.