EU releases it Gender Equality Strategy

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On March 5th 2020, the EC published its Gender Equality Strategy for the period 2020 – 2025, which presents policy objectives and actions towards a gender-equal Europe. Key objectives included ending gender-based violence; challenging gender stereotypes; closing gender gaps in the labour market; addressing the gender pay and pension gaps and achieving gender balance in decision-making and in politics. As one of the first deliverables of the Strategy, the Commission will propose binding pay transparency measures by the end of 2020.

In addition, the Commission calls on the Council to conclude the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention and ensure a swift EU ratification and calls on the Member States to ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention. Another aim is to ratify and implement the ILO Convention to combat violence and harassment in the world of work, next to the implementation of other relevant EU legislation, like the EU Victims’ Rights Directive. The issue of Trafficking in Human Beings is only shortly addressed in the Strategy, highlighting mainly that the vast majority of victims of trafficking in human beings are women, both in and outside the EU and are mostly trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

Unfortunately no mention is made of the vulnerability and severe forms of labour exploitation of women – and men – in other regular and irregular labour sectors, neither is the issue of vulnerability of (undocumented) female migrant workers clearly addressed. See also PICUM’s reaction to the Gender Equality Strategy.