ETUCE launches new Action Plan on Gender Equality


Related topics

The education sector and teaching profession are still disappointingly unequal on gender issues like pay, career prospects, work-life balance and violence. With an updated ETUCE Action Plan on Gender Equality, education trade unions across Europe show that employees and their unions can take the lead in making the education sector fairer and more attractive for women and men. The plan sets out concrete measures to improve gender equality at national, regional and local level.

Education is the sector with the second highest representation of female workers in the European labour market: in 2017, 73% of education sector workers in the EU were women. However, there is a clear vertical and horizontal segregation in career paths. Men are overrepresented in leadership roles and higher secondary or tertiary education positions, which often attract higher salaries and greater social prestige. Gender gaps in pay and pensions, gender-based violence and problems with work-life balance also leave women with a raw deal.

Education personnel and their unions are finding solutions to these challenges. They take the lead in public debates on gender equality and negotiate to include gender equality provisions in legislation and collective agreements. ETUCE and member organisations recently finished the project ‘Social dialogue and gender equality: Empowering education trade unions to address gender equality in the teaching profession through social dialogue’ (2018-2019)’. Alongside a comprehensive research report and a promotional video, we developed a living Online Database of Good Practices. This database is a source of inspiration for education trade unions and a practical manual of tools and arguments with proven successful in trade unions and in the education sector.

Today we launch the most important policy product of this project: the new ETUCE Action Plan on Gender Equality. The plan perfectly complements the online database, proposing a set of concrete actions to education trade unions and education personnel, covering six key topics:

  • Gender stereotypes and gender roles
  • Vertical gender segregation in the education sector and within trade unions
  • Difficulties in reconciling work and private life
  • Gender pay and pension gaps
  • Horizontal gender segregation in the education sector
  • Gender-based violence and harassment

This new Action Plan updates ETUCE’s 2010 strategy on gender equality, reflecting the broad priorities of a more intersectional approach. When it comes to methods there is a stronger focus on embedding gender issues in social dialogue. In terms of topic, we have developed a whole chapter on gender-based violence and harassment and included actions to address the impact of digitalisation on gender equality in education.

Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director, called on ETUCE member organisations “to implement the ETUCE Action Plan on Gender Equality in a holistic manner. This is not a fixed plan for every country, but instead a supportive policy tool which can be adjusted to national and local conditions. I am sure that education trade unions across Europe will take these ideas and make them reality with teachers, academics and other education personnel in schools, kindergartens and universities. We must work together and persevere if we want to bring about real change!”

ETUCE Action Plan on Gender Equality (2020)