European growth that is sustainable and inclusive can best be achieved with governments and institutions that are truly gender representative and with rule-making that supports the principle of gender equality as well as women's economic empowerment.
Overwhelming amounts of research point to the economic, societal progress and performance case for pursuing gender equality and diversity in private and public sector decision making.
The EU institutions (including EU bodies and agencies) have 31,6% of women as senior administrators. The share of women in the EU Member State Governments is 29,3%. All current Presidents of the EU institutions (European Council, the Commission, the European Parliament) are male. These institutions together with national administrations safeguard the values of the EU Treaties and set EU policies, which affect most areas of the economy and society of the Union for over 500 million European citizens.
WECAN considers that with the upcoming elections of new members of the European Parliament, the appointment of the Commission and Council Presidents, the Commissioners and senior positions in the EU Institutions as well as the new budget for the period 2020-2027, it is timely to agree and implement an actionable gender-proof economic growth agenda for a better Europe.
We call for action on the following three priorities across the EU institutions and EU Member States:
1. No decisions taken without women
Ensure equal leadership in decision-making
Make gender equality – including all women regardless of race, religion and ethnicity - for economic growth a political priority for the 2019 leadership;
• Set gender parity targets for senior leadership positions in European Institutions, national governments and publicly listed corporations, and report annually on progress (transparent data-tracking);
• Ensure female candidates for every top EU and government position, including for Presidential positions, Committee chairs and Political Groups. Recruit on merit, and with a gender diverse and unbiased interviewer panel;
• Promote the ‘SheforWe’ campaign not only outside the European Union but apply the campaign to the EU itself and fully implement the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality in EU policies and initiatives
2. Enact equal economic empowerment policies
• Promote a policy environment that is supportive of work-life balance for men and women, including the recognition and redistribution of care responsibilities;
• Implement equal compensation for equal work;
• Build future-proof skills to enhance (women’s) access to the labour market, particularly in Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM).
3. Promote financial inclusion and funding
Ensure access to finance and advisory services for female entrepreneurs;
• Set an ambitious goal for gender mainstreaming across all EU programmes, agree a target of EU expenditure contributing to gender action and use EU funds more pro-actively to achieve gender equality in the next Multiannual Financial Framework;
• Set procurement targets for sourcing from gender-balanced enterprises and enterprises with a robust gender action plan against which they report.
We therefore request, that the European Institutions and European Governments publish, track and update a detailed blue-print on how to achieve the above-mentioned priorities on an annual basis. They must cover both EU and national policy levels and set targets to be implemented by 2025. The new European Parliament, European Commission and Council President should be vetted upon their commitment to this Gender-proof Growth agenda.
Making Gender-proof Growth a political priority will deliver more inclusive and sustainable economic growth, set a positive EU agenda, and boost EU values.
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