In Europe's rural communities, the silent struggle for equality and opportunity for young women is still ongoing. On 22 November, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a debate on gender equality and youth in rural areas during the meeting of its Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment. The event is in line with the EESC's commitment to the Rural Pact and the European Gender Equality Week.
Marking the International Day for the elimination of violence against women on 25 November, EESC member José Antonio Moreno Díaz, rapporteur for the opinion SOC/726 Combatting violence against women, believes that violence against women and girls is a tragedy that is sweeping Europe.
On 21 November, the EESC's Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship held a debate on the issue of violence against women and girls, calling for the local, national, regional and EU level to join forces. Despite years of procrastination, the Commission's proposal to combat violence against women was still watered down by the Council as the majority of Member States are not in favour of including consent-based rape legislation in the directive.
The EESC's Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO) held a debate on 15 November addressing gender disparities in access to financial markets. Studies highlight these gaps, sparking ongoing debates as to their causes. Women-led EU businesses receive only 2% of venture capital, apply for fewer loans and invest cautiously. The talks explored how these disparities affected society and the economy and searched for policy solutions.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility has increased the capacity for social investment in the EU. However, National Recovery and Resilience Plans, funded by the facility, are still plagued by shortcomings such as uneven investing in social programmes in different Member States, insufficient consultation with social partners and a gender dimension that is too weak
Despite many recent breakthroughs and the fact that the EU gender equality index reached record levels this year, much still needs to be done for women to achieve equal rights as men in many domains
On 17 October the EESC'S External Relations Section (REX) held a debate on the impact of the climate crisis on gender equality. Gender inequality linked to the climate crisis is one of today's greatest challenges. The European Union and United Nations Women, the biggest players in international community, should continue to work together on this issue.
The EESC's External Relations Section held a debate during its section meeting dedicated to the situation of women in Latin America. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities worsening the situation of women in the region. Participants in the debate called for legislative reforms to the social and employment system in order to eliminate gender inequalities. They also flagged up the role of civil society in the empowerment of women.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a debate on how to improve access to finance for women entrepreneurs, as part of Committee's gender equality initiative following up on the Parliament's Gender Equality Week Initiative. Women are underserved when it comes to financing, or not at all provided for. Participants agreed that empowering these women is vital to enhance business productivity and economic growth. Moreover, women in leadership are more conscious of – and deliver on – climate objectives and encourage diversity.
EESC plenary, Wednesday 14 December 2022, 5 p.m.