PES ministers ask for EU Commissioner to put gender policies back in the centre of the European agenda


Ministerial Gender Equality Ministers

The PES ministers in charge of gender equality called on the EU leaders and on the European Commission to truly engage in actions to tackle the growing gender inequality and to protect women against the reactionary backlash in some European countries. The ministers agreed that it is essential to put gender policies back in the centre of the European agenda, in a time where the European Union is searching for a new identity. The ministers strongly underlined that our political family should help shape it in a progressive way.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said: "We ask for the relaunch of the gender ministerial meetings at the Council, which the Polish presidency stopped in 2010. They were a very fruitful platform for exchange and the would be again if brought back. We, in our progressive political family, are definitely continuing the work on the ministerial level". 

The ministers of the progressive family stated that the austerity years have caused a general step back in women’s employment rate and salaries and that, in parallel, the conservative, reactionary rhetoric has gained ground as populism and bigotry have become more mainstream in Europe. Our political family is ready to stand against it. The PES Ministers on gender equality adopted a declaration during the meeting. 

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said: "According to the World Economic Forum, at the current rate, it would take 170 years to overcome the global gender pay gap. In Europe the gender pay gap not only remains around 16%, but is at risk of increasing due to austerity only policies that have harmed proportionately more those weaker in the labour market, especially women . We have to do better than that. Studies have proven that including 100% of the population in the working force results in a stronger economy and more social justice. It is a win-win situation for the EU and it is thus unacceptable for European leaders to ignore one half of the population when talking about the future of the EU. We call on Commissioner Vera Jurova to be more proactive in defending gender equality. There is a lot to do."