Trade unionists from across Europe discuss interlinked gender equality issues

EPSU Women and Gender Equality committee 5 November 2018, Brussels

(20 November 2018) Lack of Work-Life Balance measures can prevent women from engaging in trade union work. Women’s adequate representation in Collective Bargaining and Social Dialogue can positively influence how agreements concluded tackle the gender pay gap and low pay in female-dominated sectors. Finally, gender mainstreaming within trade unions can help holistically tackle a number of key gender equality concerns. It is therefore apparent that EPSU’s and affiliates’ gender equality priorities  - also enshrined in the Prague Statement and the Roadmap – are interlinked and mutually reinforce each other. Many of these issues were on the agenda on 5th November, when trade union representatives gathered in Brussels for the 23rd meeting of EPSU’s Women’s and Gender Equality Committee.

Participants exchanged on women’s representation in EPSU and affiliates’ structures, following the survey EPSU has carried out this year, and have agreed to follow up on the survey findings, also by strengthening the Committee’s work on gender mainstreaming. Tackling the gender pay gap, and fighting for equal pay for work of equal value is also a priority for 2019. A representative of the European Commission presented on how the EU Action Plan on tackling the gender pay gap has been followed up since it was published last year.

Next year’s session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, focussing on access to public services, is also of great significance to public service unions as it is a moment to demonstrate the important role strengthened public services can play in achieving gender equality for workers and users alike. Members discussed to focus activities on the upcoming 8 March on our key gender equality demands ahead of the session. 

Finally, participants took a photo to mark European Equal Pay Day, which this year fell on 3rd November. After this day, women in Europe symbolically work for free for the rest of the year.