Tomorrow, 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).
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.