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.