International Women’s Day 2023: ETUCE celebrates woman’s rights and gender equality  


Education is a sector where women’s rights should be focused on all the time, not just on International Women’s Day.   

Women make up a large majority of the education workforce; teachers, academics and education support staff all deserve equal pay for equal value. Without recognising the importance of the teaching profession, we cannot provide quality education at all levels. On the 8th of March, ETUCE repeatedly stresses its commitment to gender equality and inclusion in all fields of the education sector.  

On this symbolic day of the fight against gender inequalities, ETUCE’s Higher Education and Research Standing Committee (HERSC) has gathered in Brussels, and, among other topics, discussion focused on the issue of gender equality in higher education and academia.  Some of the most important obstacles are the glass ceiling, horizontal gender segregation and gender-based violence. Horizontal and vertical gender segregations lead to the under-representation of female teachers in higher education and research, in decision-making positions and is exacerbated by struggles related to work-life balances and gender stereotypes.  

Participating in the European Economic and Social Committee Section meeting debate "Pink or blue? Dismantling gender stereotypes in education” ,European Director of ETUCE, Susan Flocken, said “On this day of commemoration of women’s achievements, but also of recognition of the inequalities they face, it is crucial to highlight the importance of education trade unions in fighting gender equality through continuous social dialogue to tackle issues such as gender pay and pension gap, gender roles and other issues”.  

However, gender inequalities and obstacles to career development are not limited to academia, all sectors of education should take action to address questions of gender equality and inclusion with an aim to provide quality education for all. ETUCE has developed an action plan to facilitate this process and help make education employers and policymakers make teaching an attractive profession by promoting equal opportunities for all employees of the education sector. 

Furthermore, ETUCE joins EI and ETUC in commemorating this day, like ETUC’s Street ActionSafe all the way” which addresses violence and harassment at work. At the European level, we can rejoice the progressive EU accession to the Istanbul convention, a step further to combatting violence against women, while the FEMM Committee of the European Parliament is discussing the gender dimension of energy poverty today at the inter-parliamentary meeting.  

Lastly, we would like to emphasize the essential work of ETUCE’s member organisations, which have strongly mobilised on this special day. Indeed, education trade unions have shown their involvement through events on women's place in unions, women in leadership roles, gender equity, gender stereotypes and call for strikes and marches to demand for equal pay, better work-life balance and to put an end to sexist and sexual violence, particularly against feminicide.