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Women's rights: MEPs urge Commission to table a new gender equality strategy

Women equal men graphic
Women equal men graphic

The European Commission must table a communication on a new strategy for gender equality and women’s rights 2016-2020 as soon as possible and deliver on its political commitments, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Wednesday. The communication should address gender equality issues which is in line with the international agenda, they add.

The resolution was adopted by 373 votes to 286 and 73 abstentions.

"A working document, which does not need to be approved by the College of Commissioners, does not deliver on the political commitments. It provides neither a dedicated budget nor concrete benchmarks and so it is not possible to evaluate the progress achieved on the objectives”, said Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee chair Ms Garcia Perez (S&D, ES).

“The Commission has a clear responsibility to launch policies on equality between women and men and to address important issues such as violence against women, the gender pay gap, and the balance between personal and working life", she continued, asking "Why did the Commission not adopt a new communication publicly and transparently designed to help deliver equality between women and men?.”

Parliament first called for a new post-2015 strategy on gender equality and women’s rights in a resolution voted 9 June 2015. Since then, the Commission has presented only a staff working document, which has no inter-institutional value, on a "Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019". This “downgraded” document restricts the duration of the proposed action, note MEPs, who also deplore the lack of concrete benchmarks and a dedicated budget.

Parliament welcomes the fact that the Commission published its “Roadmap: new start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families”, a package with legislative and non-legislative proposals, in August 2015, but regrets that the Council could not agree on a position regarding women on boards directive.

MEPs say that the previous Commission strategy (2010-2015) was not comprehensive enough to boost gender equality at European and international levels and that a new strategy should provide new impetus and deliver concrete action to strengthen women’s rights and promote gender equality.

Video recording of debate (click on 02.02.2016)
Adopted text will be available here (click on 03.02.2016)
EbS+ (02.02.2016) info for colleagues: pick up the link with the corresponding day that the debate to be announced takes place
PR on Gender equality strategy: MEPs call for clearer targets and better monitoring (09.06. 2015)
Audiovisual material for professionals
EP Research Note: Towards a new EU gender equality strategy
EP Research Briefing: Advancing gender equality in the EU
EU gender equality index