Equal rights in the EU have come a long way, but the Covid-19 pandemic could put them at risk. Watch our video for some of the milestones.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women, who account for the majority of workers in essential services, including healthcare, personal care and sales.
Read facts and figures about Covid-19's impact on women
Gender equality is a fundamental EU value but there are still many challenges and the European Parliament has called for action to address them, particularly as inequalities have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Find out how the European Parliament fights for gender equality
As the Parliament marks International Women’s Day on 8 March, find out what action it has taken recently to improve gender equality:
- Guaranteeing climate justice - adopting measures to mitigate the impact of climate change on women (2017)
- Combatting sexual harassment in the workplace, public place, political life, online and offline (2018)
- Adopting new rules on work-life balance with higher minimum standards for parental and carers' leave (2019)
- Calling for specific reduction targets, investment, working arrangements and training to close the gender pay gap (2020)
- Calling for the eradication of female genital mutilation (2020)
- Promoting female participation in the digital economy and proposing measures to tackle the digital gender gap and encourage girls to study science, technology, engineering maths as well as ICT subjects (2021)
- Reiterating the call for countries to ratify the Istanbul Convention fighting gender-based violence (2021)
Gender and the recovery
Parliament wants the European Commission and EU countries to allocate resources to help women recover from the crisis, particularly regarding employment, violence and health rights. It also wants gender equality to be one of the priorities of the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe.
On 8 March, the Parliament will mark International Women's Day during its plenary session. A few days before that on 4 March, the women's rights committee will host the event We are strong: women leading the fight against Covid-19.
Watch the event online on 4 March from 9.00 CET.