Gender Equality In Europe

Over the past 30 years, Europe has been involved in a fight for gender equality. There is annual report published on the equality between men and women and from this report it is shown that:

*Gender based violence is mainly female victims
* Women still make 17.8% less than men for every hour that they work
* Female employment may have increased but it is still lower than the employment rate of men.
* Women have a higher risk of poverty than men

Although inequality still exists, substantial improvements have been made towards making sure women have equal working conditions.According to figures, there has been an increase in the number of female MEPs, 16.3% in 1979 to 31% in 2009. In 2006, the amount of female managers in the European union accounted for 32.6%. An agency has been created, The European Institute for Gender Equality, located in Lithuania, which offers support to member states as they attempt to promote gender equality by raising awareness of the topic.

An example of gender inequality would be the line up for Italy’s new Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi cabinet. The cabinet is made up of 21 ministers, of which only 4 are women, which is ironic considering there has been much discussion of gender equality on the run up to Italy’s general elections. For these 4 women who have managed to make it into the cabinet, it could be said that they are more likely to be there “more for their looks rather than for their political prowess” as one of the women is a former showgirl who happened to work on one of the Prime Minister’s network channels as well as coming in 6th in Miss Italy competition. It is more likely for Italian women to be discriminated against in their own workplace even though there have been attempts at more gender equality laws being put in place.

This can be contrasted with Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who has more female ministers in his cabinet than males which he has been praised for. Zapatero has been quoted to have said that “On the political front, women are not just at the top of the pyramid, 40% of the political candidates in elections must be women. ” He has also declared that not only is he anti-macho but also feminist.

Therefore, slowly but surely  progress in term of  gender equality which can be shown through the development of the European institute for gender equality as well as some countries attitudes towards females. However, there is still room for more improvements to achieve full equality.

Sources :


6 thoughts on “Gender Equality In Europe

  1. I think this topic is a very controversial one. If at the end of the day, if woman are not getting jobs simply because they are female then of course something must be done about it. However, I’m not sure that the fact the Spanish prime minster wants 40% of candidates to be female is actually a good thing. The idea I suppose is good but at the end of the day it should be based upon the best person for the position. If that means 100% male or indeed 100% female then I don’t think there should be a problem. I know possibly not everyone will agree with this but woman shouldn’t just be given jobs to make things more equal. Everyone works hard for the same reason and so it should go to the best person. On that note I will say that if a female is the best person for a position then of course the fact they are female shouldn’t stop them from being awarded it.

  2. I also agree with Immt11′ statement that not a gender but a personality and an ability should be evaluated in relation to the employment. “40% of the political candidates in elections must be women”- i really don’t see the point and reason for making this kind of statement.

    But i am very surprised about differences in female employment rate by countries. For instance,in Turkey comparing with average rate of EU (81.82 %) this ratio is only 39.3 % in 2008 accordin to International Labour organisation. You can disagree with me, but I really see here a big problem, which should be solved.

  3. Gender equality is still a major topic in the industrialized countries. In regular terms the discussion takes place before national elections, as seen in the above blog. Surely there has been some improvement in the situation, especially in government owned companies or in the public sector, where it is easier to promote certain quotes for woman. In Germany the gender equality discussion is still going on. There have been several attempts to enforce a legislation that a certain percentage of jobs have to be hold by woman but they never came into power. The so called “macho” quote that such a percentage system would be not appropriate thus woman should get the jobs by their skills and expertise and not by a percentage level. Additionally it is not clear to me, why woman still earn less money for the same work- governments could easily enforce legislation in order to stop companies to operate like this. Sweden and Denmark are precursor concerning gender equality in the EU. Nearly 15 years ago the governments passed a law, in order to keep the wage level equal between men and woman.

  4. European Union is trying to eliminate these differences, but the fact is, that differences in salaries did not change. Men still get paid more for doing the same job women do. According to statistics an average difference between pay rate is 15% in EU. But it varies in specific countries, f.e. 5%in Malta, 25% in Cyprus and Estonia and 20% in Germany, UK and others. EU plans to implement more strict policies and requires that member states create a strategies for a future.

    • It’s very annoying that women earn still less than men today, although they have the same qualifications and provide the same performance. I think that every woman and man should have the same rights, obligations and opportunities in order to achieve gender equality in all areas.


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