Strong European Pillar of Social Rights: gender equality and equal pay requires better work-life balance and gender equality


In advance of the EU Social Summit in Gothenburg on 17 November, ETUCE is joining ETUC in its call on European leaders to proclaim the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) and to work towards more social and equal Europe. Gender equality is one of the founding stones of the EPSR, as it sets the conditions for equal working opportunities and conditions, equal terms and conditions of career progression, and equal pay for work of equal value for men and women.

Recent reports of the European Institute of Gender Equality (EIGE) and the European Commission show that Europe is moving too slowly towards achieving the goals of gender equality in the labour market and equal pay. Persisting gender segregation in the education sector is one of the examples: even though the great majority of education personnel are women, the number of women teachers decreases per education sector starting from generally lower-paid early childhood education, primary and secondary to higher-paid tertiary education and research. Representation of women within decision-making positions is also decreasing, with very few women in the leadership in vocational education and training and in higher education and research. Unequal distribution of household and care responsibilities, including parental leave taken mostly by women, impacts women’s career progression and increases the gender pension gap, while ‘glass ceiling’ phenomena, especially in academia, makes it difficult for women to achieve senior positions.

The implementation of the principles on gender equality and equal pay embedded in the European Pillar of Social Rights”, recalls Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director, “also relies on European governments providing women teachers with the same career opportunities as male teachers. Therefore, Europe needs to promote better work-life balance, including more equal distribution of care responsibilities between women and men, as well as more equal representation of women in decision-making in all education sectors and research”.