New EIGE report: Europe still struggling with gender segregation in education


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Gender equality remains a pressing issue in the EU. New challenges like digitalisation, migration or climate change have emerged alongside the old questions of gender-based violence and gender gaps in employment, pay, pensions and poverty levels. The EIGE’s Beijing +25 report shows that the EU has still a long way to go in the fight for gender equality – especially in education. Europe must take action, because education is recognised in the European Pillar of Social Rights as one of the most important sectors for reducing social exclusion.

By request of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has published its Beijing +25 report, The 5th Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the EU Member States. It shows that there are still major gender inequalities in education, training and research. One key example is the segregation of education by gender, with women overrepresented in primary education or health studies while men dominate hi-tech fields such as computer science and information and communication technology.

In order to acknowledge this important topic, the Council of the European Union adopted in December 2019 a Council Resolution on Gender-Equal Economies in the EU: The Way Forward. The Resolution reaffirms Europe’s commitment to effective measures addressing gender segregation in education and training at all levels, promoting equal access to all educational fields and in particular facilitating women's and girls' access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. On the basis of a discussion paper, ministers held a public debate on future gender equality policies and gender mainstreaming in the EU.

In a recent two-year project ETUCE and its member organisations sought to provide education trade unions with concrete tools and practices to address the challenges of gender inequality in the education sector through enhanced social dialogue in the education sector at national, regional and local level. The problems include vertical and horizontal segregation of the sector, pay and pension gaps, gender-based violence in the workplace and work-life balance issues. An online Database of Good Practices developed in the framework of the project contains descriptions and links to practical initiatives on various gender topics implemented by the ETUCE member organisations. It can be used by education trade unions as a source of inspiration and as a practical manual of tools and arguments proven successful within education trade unions and in the education sector.