PES ministers call for Europe to step up gender equality action under the European Pillar of Social Rights


PES gender equality and women’s rights ministers

PES ministers for gender equality and women’s rights meeting by videoconference

Gender equality must be an integral part of the drive for Social Europe, PES ministers for gender equality and women’s rights said today as they met online with European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, and the S&D Group to discuss priorities for 2021.

The ministers agreed that fully achieving Social Europe requires a strong gender equality perspective. They underlined the importance of gender mainstreaming the European Commission’s Action Plan to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights. All actions to implement the Pillar’s 20 principles must be assessed for their impact on gender equality, and gender budgeting should be the norm in the distribution of EU funds. In the context of COVID-19, targeted measures are also needed to close labour market gaps and improve women’s economic and social inclusion. Ambitious and timely action to implement the Pillar’s commitment to gender equality is crucial to build back better for women in Europe.

Portuguese Minister of State for the Presidency Mariana Vieira da Silva, said:

“Social Europe must be at the centre of our policies, to foster an inclusive recovery and to meet the challenges of the twin transitions. That is why the Portuguese Presidency will host a Social Summit, aiming to give a political impulse to the Action Plan on the Implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Underlying this effort, we must ensure that the actions to implement the Pillar also regard a gender perspective, based on data, to continuously assess its outcomes for women and men.”

The meeting was held at the invitation of Mariana Vieira da Silva to coordinate and exchange on progressive priorities ahead of the informal EPSCO Council on 22 February and the upcoming EU Ministerial Breakfast meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March.

PES Women President and chair of the meeting Zita Gurmai added:

“Thanks to the leadership of the Portuguese Council Presidency and the efforts of PES commissioners Helena Dalli and Nicolas Schmit, we will see many EU actions for gender equality this spring. We are looking forward to the legislative proposal on pay transparency and the Social Summit in Porto in May. These will take us one step closer to a social, as well as an economic, union. The task ahead is to become a gender equal union, but many gaps still exist that need to be closed. In the wake of COVID-19, translating the Pillar’s commitment to gender equality into concrete measures - accompanied by adequate funding and underpinned by data - is more important than ever."

The meeting discussed the upcoming 65th edition of the CSW, which will focus on women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, achieving gender equality, and the empowerment of all women and girls.

Zita Gurmai concluded:

“We are also calling on the EU to take the lead at a global level when it comes to building back better for gender equality after the pandemic. As we are preparing for the 65th session of the CSW, it is high time that all EU Member States achieve the targets on gender equality set at the Beijing Convention in 1995 without delay. It is regretful that some conservative European governments are still undermining EU efforts to unite for women’s rights, but we progressives will always uphold European values.”

The meeting was attended by:

  • Zita Gurmai, PES Women President, Hungary
  • Marja Bijl, PES Women Vice-President, Netherlands
  • Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, Malta
  • Mariana Vieira da Silva, Minister of State for the Presidency, Portugal
  • Franziska Giffey, Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Germany
  • Taina Bofferding, Minister of Equality between Women and Men, Luxemburg
  • Rosianne Cutajar, Junior Minister for Equality and Reforms, Malta
  • Olli Koski, State Secretary for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Finland
  • Helene Fritzon, S&D Group Vice-President, Sweden