European Commission Advisory Committee discusses the future gender equality policy in the EU


The European Commission Advisory Committee on equal opportunities for women and men has recently published two opinions, regarding future gender equality policy after 2019 and new challenges for gender equality in the changing world of work.

In its opinion on future gender equality policy after 2019, the Advisory Committee calls for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by all Member States, the re-establishment of gender equality as a priority issue for the EU, and the adoption of a high-level intersectional gender equality strategy 2020-2025 by the European Commission. More specifically, this paper urges Member States to fight gender stereotypes in education, to tackle horizontal and vertical segregation in the labour market by providing affordable childcare to facilitate women’s full participation in the labour market, to ensure equal access to economic and political decision-making positions, and to raise awareness of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

The opinion on the new challenges of gender equality in the changing world of work focuses in particular on the transformation of the labour market as a result of digitalisation. Although working conditions in ICT sector can be flexible and well-paid, this opinion stipulates that forward planning is required to avoid the emergence of a digital gender gap and to adequately deal with the dangers that digitalisation can bring, such as cyber violence and increased gender-based harassment. Therefore, this opinion appeals to Member States to make lifelong learning systems more accessible, to provide digital infrastructure in the rural areas so that everyone can enjoy access to flexible working conditions, and to ensure equal access to quality education for all.

ETUCE welcomes the conclusions of the opinion on future gender equality policy, in particular, that it underlines the enhanced role of social partners in addressing the gender pay gap through collective bargaining and the creation of specific tools such as workplace equality plans. However, ETUCE strongly condemns that the opinion on new challenges considers digital education mostly from an economic perspective, for example by emphasising the European shortage of ICT professionals and the increasing demand for digital skills in the labour market. ETUCE highlights that education should be seen as enriching the life of citizens and not as a tool for the labour market as it is about more than employment and developing the future workforce.

Gender equality and new challenges faced by education personnel and trade unions in tackling the horizontal and vertical segregation of the education sector, ensuring work-life balance amongst all teachers and eradicating gender stereotypes, are being examined within the framework of ETUCE’s current project Empowering education trade unions to address gender equality in the teaching profession through social dialogue (2018-2019).

Read more about ETUCE views on gender equality and ICT in education in the ETUCE Action Plan on Gender equality within teacher trade unions’ structures and in the teaching profession and policy paper ‘The 21st Century Teaching Profession and the Use of ICT’.