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Women’s Day: EU Commission, “progress in gender equality at a snail’s pace”

(Brussels) “The EU employment rate for women reached an all-time high of 66.4% in 2017, but the situation differs across Member States”. This is one of the findings of the 2019 Report on equality between women and men in the EU, released by the European Commission in Brussels today on the eve of 8 March. Last year, eight Member States (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Slovakia) “received recommendations under the European Semester framework to improve female participation in the labour market”, the European Commission explains. Other data point to problems concerning the protection of women’s rights and dignity in Europe. “Women are more at risk of poverty, with salaries on average 16% lower than for men. This translates in the pension gap, which stood at 35.7 % in 2017”. Furthermore, “in some countries, more than 10 % of older women cannot afford necessary health care”. According to the Commission, the “glass-ceiling remains a reality in the business world with only 6.3 % of CEO positions in major publicly listed companies in the EU held by women”.
Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission, says: “We are in 2019 and progress in the area of gender equality is still at a snail’s pace. In some countries the situation is even regressing. All we ask for is: equality for all. Nothing more, but nothing less either”. Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Gender Equality, adds: “Women are still underrepresented in politics across the EU, this also goes for the European institutions. I want to see more women running for election. We should lead by example: I call on Member States to present more female candidates as future European Commissioners”.

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