International Women’s Day on 8 March 2015: Empowering Women and Girls through Education


On the occasion of International Women's Day, the European Union highlights this year the importance of education for women's empowerment. Women struggle with poverty and with poor working conditions, for example the gender pay gap and difficulties in reaching decision-making positions. To tackle these problems the European Parliament invites you to the committee meeting, celebrating the International Women's Day.

On 5 March 2015 discussions and presentations about the disparity of education, equal access to continuous and quality education and the empowerment of women and girls through education, will take place.

ETUCE has organised several projects concerning this area, such as the project promoting gender equality within teacher unions and in teaching professions. In this project practical guidelines for teacher unions to enforce gender equality in education and the workplace were developed. Furthermore the project on actions to challenge gender stereotypes and gender segregation, promotes measures for gender sensitive education. Gender mainstreaming needs to be included in the social dialogue to strengthen the power and influence of teacher unions. The ETUCE action plan on Gender equality within teacher union structures and the teaching profession shows four important guidelines to promote gender equality in the education sector:

  1. Address gender roles in education;
  2. Promote women in decision making positions;
  3. Support work-life balance
  4. Tackle the gender pay gap.

ETUC, the European Trade Union Confederation publishes its annual 8th March survey, to promote the international women's day. This year's survey focusses on the Strategy for Equality between Women and Men for the next period, 2015-2020, from the European Commission. Last year's survey addressed the topic of women's membership and in leadership positions in local trade unions and the measures on gender based violence. The results show that, women in trade unions struggle with the 'glass ceiling' and are generally underrepresented in leadership positions.

At international level Education International (EI) promotes quality education for women and men. Almost at the same date of the international women's day the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women of the UN takes place. Representatives of EI and from ETUCE member organisations, advocate for the importance of education in gender equality issues.

National teacher unions are already deeply involved in fighting for gender equality and this year's international women's day is another opportunity to promote this topic. The ETUCE Secretariat invites you to contribute to the festivities at international, European or national level.

To read more about the ETUCE equal opportunities projects click here.