Updated: Sep 18
Author: Helen CONEFREY Co-author: Helen HENDERSON
Top Women for Top Jobs!
International Women’s Day is still an important milestone for many people worldwide and has grown over the decades to take on a global dimension to ensure that women all over the world have their rights respected and are able to participate fully in all economic, civic, political, social and cultural spheres.
Despite being in the 21st Century it is clear that many countries both within and beyond the European Union are far from gender parity or from ensuring fair power relations. Indeed gender parity is simply not enough, it needs to go hand in hand with a shift in mind-sets and an acceptance that both men and women are equally capable and that it is in everyone’s interest to ensure their freedoms and promote a prosperous and fair society in which all can flourish.
We must collectively keep up the battle for the protection of women’s rights and acknowledge that gender-based discrimination has no place in modern society.
The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 aims to achieve a Union of Equality where women and men, girls and boys have equal opportunities to thrive. Even today, women are under-represented in decision-making positions in politics and business and still earn on average considerably less than men across the EU.
Similarly, the Gender Action Plan (GAP) III aims to ensure that through the EU’s external policy, issues related to gender equality and women’s empowerment will be at the top of the agenda. In many non-EU countries, inequalities persist, including on basic access to health, education and jobs and there is widespread gender-based violence everywhere in the world that cannot be ignored.
In terms of internal commitments, both the European Commission and the EEAS need to ensure targeted human resources policies and corrective measures/incentives that will promote equality and equity and give women a fair chance at all levels of the hierarchy.
Following former EC President Juncker’s pledge to ensure more women in middle and senior management posts, we have exceeded the 40% target at the Commission, which is clearly progress, but much remains to be done. There are still fewer women in senior management positions at HQ and too few women as Heads of Delegation.
“There are plenty of women qualified for top jobs: they should be able to get them.”
(President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen – June 2022)
USHU is proud to witness the first woman ever, President Ursula von der Leyen, leading the European Commission. USHU will continue to advocate for gender sensitive HR policies to promote greater diversity and inclusion at both the Commission and the EEAS.
Our EU institutions must find ways of supporting women with targeted training sessions, mentoring and career guidance. Women often have additional care duties in addition to their professional tasks and need to ensure an adaptable and appropriate work/life balance.
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