Gender equality issues (own initiative opinion)

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Stanovisko EHSV: Gender equality issues (own initiative opinion)

Gender equality is not only a human rights issue; it is a social and economic necessity for the EU, its Member States and businesses, as it hugely impacts on sustainable growth and GDP, while allowing to use the potential of 51% of the EU population. The EU needs to elevate gender equality to a stand-alone goal with a binding strategy, centred in the following measures:

  • fighting the economic inequality affecting women and the current backlash of their rights; ratifying and implementing the Istanbul Convention on all forms of violence against women (including harassment);
  • addressing once and for all gendered stereotypes, namely through the media; and supporting civil society organisations working for greater gender equality.

Key points

The EESC

  • believes that the EU and its Member States must make every effort to achieve SDG 5 on gender equality by 2030. It therefore calls for an integrated and ambitious five-year EU gender equality strategy, spanning the term of the next Commission and EP, and a strong commitment to gender equality by the EU institutions, governments, civil society and the private sector to holistically tackle all aspects of equality effectively at the same time and with measures of equal impact;
  • calls for gender equality to remain a stand-alone goal in the future financial frameworks, with a clear commitment to gender equality and gender mainstreaming and the inclusion of gender indicators, gender impact assessment and gender budgeting in all programmes and policy fields;
  • calls on the Council to continue its efforts and proceed with the discussion on the Women on Boards Directive and on industry to take a leading role and increase the participation of women in top decision-making positions;
  • calls on the European Commission to launch a package on care services to boost the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and to revise the Barcelona targets on childcare;
  • condemns all forms of violence against women and encourages Member States that have not yet ratified the Istanbul Convention to reconsider their position;
  • proposes establishing an emergency legal fund at EU level, which would provide support to civil society organisations who challenge national or local legislation that violates women's rights in courts;
  • calls on the Council to review its guidelines for the appointment of EESC members and recommends that the Member States put forward members on a gender parity basis. As for the EESC, it will strive to ensure gender equality in its operations, mainstream gender equality in its work process and establish a follow-up group in order to draw up adequate guidelines.