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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

100th International Women's Day

International Women's Day, 8 March, is celebrated this year for the 100th time. It started in four European Countries (Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland) and Europe has been at the forefront of promoting gender equality. From workers’ rights to female astronauts – International Women’s Day has marked a century of economic, social, political and cultural achievements of women around the world. Today, the European Commission continues to take concrete actions to further strengthen gender equality.

On 5 March, the first Equal Pay Day was held, a date which marks the additional days a woman must work from the end of last year to earn the same as a man in 2010. On average and across the EU economy, the difference in a woman's salary still equates to 17.5% less than that of men. On 1 March, the Commission met with CEOs and chairs of boards of big, publicly listed companies and launched a voluntary initiative. By signing the "Women on the Board Pledge for Europe ” public businesses can commit to raising the number of women on their boards. The Commission is aiming for a 30% rise in the number of women in boardrooms by 2015 and a 40% rise by 2020. EU-Justice Commissioner Reding said "Today we look back on 100 years of economic, political and social achievements by women and we look forward to a true equality that will ensure there is no need for a 200th anniversary of International Women's Day."