gender equalityTomorrow, the 8th of March, is International Women’s Day. Despite the fact that gender equality is one of the fundamental principles of the EU, there are still plenty of stark examples of continuing inequality such as a gender pay gap of 16.4% on average across the Union (percentages strongly vary between member states, ranging from 30% in Estonia to 2.5% in Slovenia).

We’ve run several debates and an infographic on gender equality. However one question we haven’t asked so far is which EU party has the best policies to fight gender inequality.

Although they all agree it’s a top priority, they have different ideas about how to achieve it.

Over the last two years,  Centre-Right MEPs have issued several reports introducing quotas for the number of women in political and corporate decision making, including a report setting a 40% quota for women on boards of listed companies by 2020 (and by 2018 for state-owned companies).

In 2013, the  Liberal Democrats set up a Gender Equality Network which promotes women´s rights in all spheres of public and private life.

The  Social Democrats set up a platform that solely focuses on the promotion of gender equality and women’s representation, and believe it’s time for an EU Commissioner for Gender Equality (you can watch their campaign video clip here).

The  Conservatives agree that more women should be present in the boardrooms, but are against a European one-size-fits-all approach, opting instead for quotas set by national governments.

The Radical Left links gender equality to anti-austerity, and call for more investment in public services like health care and education, and placing gender equality at the heart of the EU’s foreign policy strategies.

In their manifesto, the  Greens expressed their support for the legally binding 40% quota for women in corporate boards, but push for the quota to be applied to all boardrooms of European companies, by 2020.

Do you know that gender equality is also one of the 8 Millennium Development Goals for 2015? Our sister think tank Friends of Europe has published a fact sheet on Women and Development today: click here to download

What do YOU think? Which party do you think provides the best ideas to reach more gender equality? Should we have an EU Commissioner for Gender Equality, or should member states set their own policies? Are quotas the right way to tackle the problem?

VOTE for the political party YOU agree with in our Vote2014. And if you have any thoughts, comments, or questions, share them in our comments section, and we will take them to policy makers for their reaction.

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!



19 comments Post a commentcomment


  1. Joel Ribeiro

    Will we ever achieve parental equality in Europe?!? We should not just look at one side and worry only with equality in one gender and ignore the other. Equality should be to everyone, despite gender, race or religion. Sometimes I believe society forgets that. Everyone talks about the inequality between men and women, but then ignores the patent inequality between mothers and fathers. If we want to fight for equality, we must focus our fight on equality of the Human Being, not men or women, but all of us. We all deserve equality!

    • Chalks Corriette

      I also think you are on the right track. The issue is that of euqlity for everyone in everything. When you have full equality in everyhting there are no issues. Which means we have to plan better and understand the core/base of why we continue to have so many issues, not just in Europe.

  2. Paul X

    “Are quotas the right way to tackle the problem?”

    Not a chance, how can positive discrimination ever lead to equality??

  3. UnuldintreNoi Ro

    There is an equality given to every human being by the HUMAN DIGNITY. Equality between woman and man who are designed by nature in different ways, with different functions it is out of any realistic question.

  4. Marcel

    Of course, as soon as men can get pregnant. Oh wait…

    Men and women are not equal!

    (if react, then react to what I said, and not to what I didn’t say, I didn’t say that one group is better/inferior to the other, but just that not equal)

    And by the way, I demand legislation that require construction companies to hire 50% women, and also garbage collection companies. And of course also in nursing and cleaning, compulsory 50-50 quota.

  5. catherine benning

    What the EU is failing to accept is the role and instinct of both genders are not identical. Therefore they cannot be considered in need of similar benefits. Equality can only be interpreted as universal in requirement, when anyone with a smidgeon of common sense would know, through experience, this notion goes counter to the well being of both sexes.

    What is meant by equality? Equality for what and how? How can there be equal justice, for example, when the satisfaction derived from this so called equality would not measure up in any given situation. As often the gender in question would abhor the same application being applied to them equally. And this mind set is the reason we have been led into the confusing and unhealthy stigmatisation imposed on either sex should they not toe the line of sameness, in order to suit the crazy elite who created this nonsense.

    As a very simple example we have the two sexes in politics. Both giving their opinions in the parliaments of our countries. One sex being entirely different from the other, decides that the optimum fulfillment for their job satisfaction is to take their child into the debating chamber of employment with them. We see in this link the Italian representative doing just that, to her and her child’s obvious delight.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjxwuYyFrg4

    Without going into the pro’s and cons of such a move, we have to address how it would sit to impose such a situation on the majority of the opposite gender. To one sex this move is heaven on earth, to the opposite it is viewed as hell. And one of the reasons for the opposing views is, the make up of their genders. Biological differences creates alternative perceptions. And nether is right or wrong, simply different in satisfaction and the ability to understand that need.

    The outcome of this difference has developed into something far more sinister, which is the experiment of enforced mutation. Both sexes are being manipulated by politics, creating the fashion to adopt the unsatisfying position of each gender to conform to the stance of the opposing sex. Women are pressed into behaving and accepting male dominance as their own and men the uncomfortable stance of the feminine. When what is actually needed for the health of the human species is differing but complimentary understanding.

    It is not a good idea to see women alter their bodies (look at the frame change from voluptuous to angular) to resemble men and vice versa as is now accepted on the runway shows. Ladyboys becoming top models in vogue for the female to emulate. What that does, is reduce women to the humiliation of being unacceptable in both body and mind. It strips them of their right to be women and proud of their status in that form. It ridicules their needs and preferences against those of the male. And to do it in the alternative reduces the admiration and respect needed to understand the gift of men.

    Therefore, equality does not exist and cannot exist when the requirement of well being in either gender would not be and could not be satisfied in the same way. In fact, what we have presently is confusion and discontent as neither sex feel they can any longer be acceptable human beings. This confusion leads to a desire to change their innate physical and mental function in order to comply with political expectation.

    What has been forced on the human race by this flawed perception of what the human condition ‘should be’ rather than what it naturally is, has created dysfunction and misery to both sexes. Who, caught in the turmoil, are unable to feel confident with their natural sense of well being. And that dysfunction is permeating the entire perception of us all. Adult and child alike.

    • Paul X

      “Biological differences creates alternative perceptions”

      I think that says it in a nutshell, men and women are different, always have been and always will be

      There are things men will never understand about women and things women will never understand about men and it’s time society accepted that and forgot about trying to “equalise” everything

    • Chalks Corriette

      This is a key point for me from your note above.

      When what is actually needed for the health of the human species is differing but complimentary understanding.

      Myself and my wife are not the same – we all know why – but we are equal and we share the child care, home chores and other issues fairly. Do we work equally as hard – no. But not for anything other how we are built and skill sets. I am physiclaly stronger and do stuff that needs that, and my wife is emotionaly stronger and she leads in the things that need her strength. So we use what nature gave us to benefit our family. She does work harder than me job wise and I counter that by taking up more of the load at home. So, differing but complimentary understanding and use of our natural strengths.

  6. Christos Mouzeviris

    if you really must have equality, then you have to change the mentality of both men and women.. starting from schools and the families themselves.. Wanna give equal rights to women? Great.. Give paternity leaves to men as well.. So that they can also stay at home and experiencing parenthood for six months..And just as the pictures implies, stop categorizing jobs as male or female.. Feminism is not to try to put an apron on a man, and turn him into a housewife, but a woman wearing a carpenter’s or a plumber’s outfit and proving that they can be as good in those jobs too.. this stereotypical gender division is what needs to be tackled.. who is a real man and his role in the society and who is a real woman and how can she be happy and fulfilled in our society. we have a looooong way to go to see changes, but if we start now in the future masculinity and femininity won’t be identified by the profession you do, or your role in the family..

  7. eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    A Sociedade Europeia tem valores humanos por isso as igualdades já existem dentro do espaço da Europa e se queremos as igualdades teremos que lutar pelas igualdades dentro da Europa Happy Internacional Women`s Europe

  8. Marcel

    Next thing you know, the Eurosoviet will mandate 40% women on every football team.

    But note, that the only ones asking for such quota as with executives and all that are the 2nd and 3rd tier women who know they aren’t good enough and see quotas as a way to get what they otherwise would never qualify for. And also note its only in ‘desirable’ jobs they ask for quotas, not in such jobs as ‘ditch diggers’ or ‘garbage truck drivers’.

  9. Marcel

    More of this ‘equal pay’ nonsense can be found in the tennis world, where the female players demanded to be paid the same as the male players, yet they do less work. Women play best of 3 sets, men play best of 5 sets, and yet women demanded the pay be equal. That is what feminists mean, equal pay for less work. And not just ignoring that men in tennis do more work, mens tennis also has better ratings and if you made matches between the top 100 men and the top 100 women, it is highly questionable the women would win more than 5 of them.

    Or athletics, take the 100m dash, the womens world record set by doping cheat Florence Griffith Joyner is about 10.5 and hasn’t even been nearly equalled in 2 decades, whereas the mens record is 9.6. Further examples can be found in practically any sport. Sorry to say, the physiological differences between men and women mean that we are not equal.

    Now of course, equal respect is fine, but don’t go and pretend something is equal when it so obviously is not.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Marcel
      I say – WELL SAID!

  10. ironworker

    Achieving that it will turn into a real problem when Turkey and in some regards Bosnia and Albania too will be invited to join the union.

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