Gender equality: whether it's division of labor at home or at work, in politics or in schools, a lot remains to be done, according to MEPs Constance Le Grip and Anna Hedh, members of the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee.
To become a gender equal society, you can’t just focus on one part, you have to look at the whole. There are many parts we need to look at the same time. If we want to reach economic equality, we need to make sure that we have a labor market for women. There needs to be an equal division in household chores. We need to make sure that women have access to childcare and eldercare. We also need to make sure that men and women have equal opportunities for staying at home with their children when they are sick or for taking parental leave. There are still persistent gaps between men and women’s income. On average at the European level, there’s a 17% pay gap but this hides even greater disparities at the national level. Even worse, there is also a 39% gap in pensions and in my opinion it needs to be urgently bridged. No, gender equality has not yet been reached in the European Parliament but there is progress. When I started here 13 years ago, only 11% of us were women. Today, we have 37% women in the European Parliament. But still there need to be more women in the European Parliament. It’s true that if you do not make a certain number of strong statements through legislative instruments to anchor equality between men and women, not much happens. Beyond legislation, I think our society needs to mobilise and women need to become aware of the enormous potential they have.