Today, the European Commission launched its Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025, which outlines a set of key actions on gender equality and women`s empowerment. Under the lead of Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, and with support of the newly created Task-Force on Equality, the Commission will integrate a gender perspective in all EU planned action, policy or programme, mainstreaming gender in all areas and at all levels before any decisions are made.
The strategy mainly features existing legislative plans that are blocked in the Council, including on women on boards (which was first proposed in 2012) and on tackling gender-based violence (which dates from 2014). The Commission will, however, for the first time propose "binding measures" on pay transparency "by the end of 2020." The BIC welcomes such a benchmarking commitment from the EU, but remains attentive as for how measures will be implemented and the timeframe for such actions to take place.
Fernando Aguiar, BIC Strategic Adviser on Conflict and EU Politics indicated that: “The new EU Gender Equality Strategy is ambitious. While its contours and consultations have at times bred contentious discussions in various EU bodies, showing sometimes lack of a coherent approach, a consensus has broadly held, and engagement from the leadership level has advanced steadily. The core and most innovative aspect that has stood out in this new Strategy is its binding measure, which, if implemented systematically, can have a concrete impact on EU`s goals to address the poor representation of women within its own senior ranks and the pay disparity between men and women more generally. However, creative and, most importantly, coordinated strategies that bring partners together will continue to be needed. The road from policy to practice may remain rough if Member States show uneven commitment to the political guidelines set by Von der Leyen on gender equality. To more effectively challenge the gendered power structures that continue to hinder progress, the EU needs to take a proactive, transformative as well as gender-sensitive approach in their leadership, combined with a strong and sustained political will to set an example in the global arena.”