ETUCE Conference: Education Trade Unions Addressing Gender Equality Through Social Dialogue


Gender equality is a vital issue for teachers and education trade unions. We need to mainstream it in all fields of our work. This includes unions’ internal policies.

Participants at this week’s ETUCE conference ‘Education Trade Unions Addressing Gender Equality Through Social Dialogue’ discussed some burning issues of gender inequality in the education sector, and shared practical tools to address it. In particular, they explored ways to introduce the gender equality aspect in social dialogue and collective bargaining with employers.

The conference, which took place in Bucharest on 16-17 September in the Parliamentary Palace of Romania, concluded a 2-year ETUCE project on gender equality and social dialogue, which was co-funded by the European Commission. The project aimed to provide education trade unions with concrete tools to promote gender equality in their education systems and effective ways to implement specific gender equality policies within their unions. Following a series of workshops, the final project conference provided the opportunity to discuss the outcomes of the project. These include a detailed research report compiled by the project’s researchers on the basis of a survey conducted among ETUCE member organisations.

At the event, representatives of ETUCE member organisations from 29 European countries debated with European policymakers and gender equality experts. Addressing such significant issues as gender stereotypes, sexism and the lack of teacher initial training on gender equality, as well as suggested solutions for speeding up Europe’s progress towards gender equality. At the Good Practices Fair, participants also shared their union’s work on promoting gender equality in the teaching profession and in society as a whole. The presented practices are among many concrete and successful examples included in ETUCE's new online database. Furthermore, during interactive working group sessions, participants had fruitful discussions which validated the updated ETUCE Gender Equality Action Plan.

Reflecting on the conference, European Director Susan Flocken stated: “Gender equality is not a stand-alone issue which education trade unions can address separately from other topics. The recent socioeconomic changes in Europe, the rapid spread of digital technology, migration, and the spread of right-wing and nationalist political discourses all have a significant impact on our attempts to build an education sector that is fair to women and men. At ETUCE, we support our member organisations in their efforts to address gender inequalities by providing them with concrete tools and resources. We also work together to address the longstanding and emerging challenges through social dialogue at institutional, national and European level. We can be proud of the work we have jointly achieved in this project. Nevertheless, our work on gender equality continues as it remains at the heart of our activities.

Learn more

Read about the project ‘Social dialogue and gender equality: Empowering education trade unions to address gender equality in the teaching profession through social dialogue’ (2018-2019).

Check out the research report 'Education trade unions addressing gender equality through social dialogue'.

Explore our online database of best practices.

Watch our video about gender equality in the education sector: English, French, Russian.