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International Women’s Day

Commission speaks up for women across the world and publishes 2020 Gender Equality Report

On the occasion of today’s International Women’s Day, the Commission is speaking up for women’s rights in Europe and abroad, by issuing the following statement: “Europe ranks among the safest and most equal places for girls and women in the world. […] But […] Also in Europe women are still facing challenges, inequalities and threats in their everyday lives: abuses and harassment, lower wages, fewer job and career opportunities. And that is unacceptable. […] Many of the remaining inequalities are linked to the place of women at work. The EU’s new rules on Work-Life Balance will contribute to getting more women at work by giving families a real choice on how to organise their professional and private life. […] Women remain underrepresented in politics. In the upcoming European elections, we would like to see more women across the EU not only voting, but standing and succeeding as candidates. The Commission also calls for more women to be represented in the highest level of all EU institutions, including as Commissioners. This Commission has been leading by example: today we have 9 female Commissioners and women account for almost 40% of our managers. […] Gender equality is also at the core of our continuous engagement with partner countries worldwide. […] We are committed to giving all women and girls equal access to health services, education and economic empowerment, and the opportunities to shape their own future.”

The Commission has also published its 2020 report on equality between women and men in the EU. The good news is that Europe is making progress; however, we must speed up change.


Across the EU, thanks to the newly agreed Work Life Balance directive, fathers will have a right to take at least 10 working days off around the birth of their child. Parental leave also becomes an individual right for mothers and fathers without a transfer of the four months to the other parent, a strong incentive for men to also make use of this possibility. Across the EU, both women and men will be able to use a ‘carer’s leave’ of five days per year in the event of sickness of a relative who depends on them for care.


The Commission published today the She Figures 2019 report, which monitors the level of progress made towards gender equality in research and innovation in the European Union. It is funded under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. Some key findings of the report are that the number of women with a career in research is slowly growing in Europe. Still, they remain significantly underrepresented, and their potential not fully recognised and valued.


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