International Women’s Day 2024: if women stop, the world stops

Women's day 8 March 2024 banner EPSU

(8 March 2024) Today women are taking to the streets of Europe to stand up for their rights.

EPSU stands in solidarity with women and affiliated unions on strike and demonstrating across Europe this International Women’s Day. Because if women stop, the world stops.

Europe has taken some steps forward over the last year – like the Pay Transparency Directive, which enshrines the principle of equal pay for work of equal value into EU law. Steps have been taken to combat violence against women with the Directive on Gender-Based Violence and the decision paving the way for Member States to adopt ILO Convention 190.

But baby steps are not enough. In 2022 alone, UN Women estimates that 2,300 women have been killed in Europe by intimate partner/family-related femicides. The gender pay gap stands at around 17%. Women’s jobs are still undervalued and underpaid.

And not only do we continue to fight to achieve equality, but more and more we are fighting to protect against the rollback of rights we believed we already achieved. From control over our bodies to access to care; from collective bargaining to equal pay – women’s rights are under threat.

EPSU believes that social partners have a crucial role to play in achieving equality. This is why we will begin negotiating EU guidelines on third-party violence on 19 March, together with EU employers in local and regional governments; central administrations; health; and possibly social services. EPSU will also continue to support ETUC in its mandate to revise the 2007 framework agreement on violence and harassment.

On this 8 March, it’s just as important to highlight what some feminist economists call a form of economic violence against women: austerity. The new EU economic governance rules will cut €100 billion in public spending over the next years. This is an inherently anti-feminist policy. Austerity hits women harder.

Austerity hurts women as both workers and as users of public services. It leads to continued staffing shortages and lower wages in female-dominated areas like health and care. This impacts the quality of care – and care workers want to deliver the care users deserve. We have seen it, we have suffered it - we don’t want it again.

Stand up for women’s rights - say no to austerity.

Watch EPSU’s International Women’s Day video here.