An open letter on Gender Equality and World Population Day | by Isabel Caño Aguilar, Vice-President in charge of Communication, EESC
This year's World Population Day (11 July) calls for global attention to two essential goals of the 2030 Agenda: reproductive health and gender equality. It is of crucial importance to promote gender equality as a transversal goal and as one of the most reliable pathways to sustainable development. Gender equality is at the very heart of human rights and at the EESC we are deeply committed with it and personally, it is a subject close to my heart.
Gender equality is at the very heart of human rights and at the EESC we are deeply committed with it and personally, it is a subject close to my heart.
Europe still has a long way to go to achieve real equality
There is no doubt that Europe is a good place for women to live, but it still has a long way to go to achieve real equality.
At the dawn of the new decade, it is unacceptable that women, who make up over half of the EU's population, still suffer from discrimination. It is equally unacceptable that on average women earn 16% less than men. Let's not also forget that only 8% of large companies in Europe have management positions held by women.
Women perform the majority of the world's work, but control a disproportionately small share of its resources. The most underpaid professions in the world are also in women's hands: nurses, teachers, and social workers.
For the past years, I have been struggling to make gender equality a reality. As vice-president for communication, I made some changes that I hope will last as good practices, namely the gender balance in all debate panels, on the contributions to our EESC newsletter, and in all communication strategies. It is also worth mentioning last year's theme of our Civil Society Prize: "More women in Europe's society and economy", dedicated to women's empowerment and actions championing gender equality in the EU.
Women tend to lose very easily their space and rights, when difficult times come. We must always remain vigilant and not allow any step backwards
It is important to enhance the role of women in society. In the past years, we have seen an increasingly active participation of women in leading innovative projects. Young women lead the public debate on the environment, mobilisation and climate activism among young people.
Raising awareness to this subject is an everlasting process. Women tend to lose very easily their space and rights, when difficult times come. After the economic crisis of 2008, when the extreme right gained ground, we felt a setback against women's rights across Europe. Now we are experiencing it again with the Covid19 pandemic. We must always remain vigilant and not allow any step backwards.
Isabel Caño Aguilar
Vice-President in charge of Communication, EESC