AuthorDirectorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (European Commission)
The promotion of gender equality is at the heart of European social and
economic policies. Despite progress made over the past years, inequalities
between women and men still remain in a number of domains.
Women’s employment rate lags behind that of men (57,2% versus 71,6%
for 2006), and women continue to predominate in certain lesser valued and
remunerated sectors and professions (the gender pay gap is at 15%). It is also
women who are more often employed in part-time jobs (31,4% versus 7,8%
for 2007) and are under-represented amongst managers in companies and
decision-makers in the political and economic domains. Notable is women’s
greater exposure to poverty, especially of those in their retirement (5 p.p.
gender gap), as well as of single mothers and women members of certain
disadvantaged groups such as ethnic minorities and immigrants.
The Commission has committed itself in its Roadmap for equality between
women and men1 to undertake a number of actions in the 2006-2010
period, in order to accelerate progress and achieve real equality between
the sexes. The actions proposed by the Roadmap cover six priority areas:
achieving equal economic independence for women and men; enhancing
reconciliation of work, private and family life; promoting equal participation
of women and men in decision-making; eradicating gender-based violence
and tracking; eliminating gender stereotypes in society; and promoting
gender equality outside the EU. The Roadmap also underlines the need for
improving governance and conrms the dual approach of gender equality
based on gender mainstreaming (the promotion of gender equality in all
policy areas and activities) and specic measures. The European Pact for
Gender Equality adopted by the Spring European Council in 2006 also
encourages Member States to improve gender mainstreaming.
Explicitly, “gender mainstreaming involves not restricting eorts to promote
equality to the implementation of specic measures to help women, but
mobilising all general policies and measures specically for the purpose of
achieving equality by actively and openly taking into account at the planning
stage their possible eects on the respective situation of men and women
(gender perspec tive). This means systematically examining measures and
policies and taking into account such possible eects when dening and
implementing them”2.
In the Roadmap, under the priority area of achieving equal economic
independence between women and men, the Commission committed
itself to monitor and strengthen gender mainstreaming in the Integrated
Guidelines for Growth and Jobs and in the Open Method of Coordination
for S ocial Inclusion and Social Protection, including by preparing gender
equality manuals for actors involved in these processes.
1 COM (2006) 92.
2 COM (1996) 67.

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