Female employment should no longer be raised as another debate on gender equality, but instead as an economic imperative to bring prosperity and jobs to the European Union – a social necessity to face the challenges of demographics, social and environmental concerns to ensure sustainable growth.
Policies to fully use the potential of women’s contribution to growth must not only address the most obvious economic obstacles, but also tackle the domains of tax, benefit and pension systems, labour rights, decision-making, entrepreneurship, education, stereotypes and violence.
Key prerequisites for achieving more female participation in employment and contribution to growth are:
- integration of the gender dimension in all EU policies;
- gender disaggregated data in all statistical data collection;
- gender sensitive allocation of EU funding;
- diminution of gender segregation in education;
- support to the transition from education to the labour market through specific training and skills development;
- access to the labour market on equal terms and conditions (including gender diversity in the workplace and real equality in terms of working time and pay);
- access to services which enable work-life balance;
- adjustment of tax and benefit systems, so as not to discourage second earners from working or from working more hours;
- empowerment of female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and create jobs;
- equal participation of men and women in decision-making;
- provision of support services to single parents in difficulty;
- provision of qualitative, accessible and affordable full-time childcare facilities;
- equal opportunities in education, equal access to the labour market and career progression;
- prevention of discrimination and harassment in the workplace and combating gender-based violence.