International Women’s Day: join the ongoing battle for women’s rights and gender equality!


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This Sunday 8 March, women around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day 2020. With this year’s theme I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights, the UN calls for global action to achieve gender equality and guarantee the human rights of all women and girls. ETUCE strives to involve the dimension of gender equality into all education trade unions’ activities, including social dialogue. With this end in view, we recently launched our Action Plan on Gender Equality.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted by the UN’s 4th World Conference on Women in 1995. The Declaration proclaimed a series of gender equality principles in 12 areas such as education and training, health, environment and economy. The Beijing Declaration is still as relevant as ever: a lot remains to be done in the struggle for women’s rights and gender equality, as shown by the latest Gender Equality Index from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).

ETUCE recently launched a new Action Plan on Gender Equality. This policy framework aims to foster trade union action for gender equality across Europe by providing concrete measures which embed the gender equality perspective in policymaking at national, regional and local level. Our Action Plan also aims to facilitate a cross-national exchange of information and good practices on how education trade unions can contribute to gender equality in the teaching profession and wider society in Europe.

Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director, commented that “the struggle for gender equality has long been a top priority for the education trade unions. Indeed, we still have to face the old injustices of gendered pay gaps and unequal access to leadership roles. But these are now joined by challenges linked to digitalisation and the climate emergency, which do not necessarily impact women and men in the same way. I’m proud of the work ETUCE member organisations are doing to promote gender equality in education, and our new Action Plan sets out an ambitious path for the years ahead.”

ETUCE welcomes the ambitious new EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025, which was published by the European Commission on 5 March. The Strategy contains many important proposals addressing gender stereotypes, gender segregation in study fields and labour market, gender pay gaps and gender-based violence, reflecting the demands of the ETUCE Statement on the EU Gender Equality Strategy. ETUCE is especially glad to see that the statement highlights the importance of consulting social partners on the implementation of the strategy, as well as addressing such emerging challenges as digitalisation and climate change.

Women’s marches will be organised around the world in order to strengthen solidarity and promote equality. European and international education trade unions will be celebrating the day with many actions, including publications, marches and social media posts.

Under the hashtag #WomenInEducation, Education International celebrates women in the education sector, reminding us that most education workers are female. EI and ETUCE congratulate member organisations for their ongoing campaigns to promote gender equality in the education sector, but also inside trade unions themselves.

ETUC highlights its demands for gender pay transparency and ending gender bias in Artificial Intelligence. ETUC recalls that women in the EU are still paid almost 15% less on average per hour than men, even though the ‘equal pay for equal work’ principle was enshrined in law more than 60 years ago.

Follow the day’s activity on social media by tracking these hashtags:
#IWD2020 #GenerationEquality #EachforEqual #WomenInEducation