International Women’s Day: still a long way towards gender equality

© Kroll/European Commission
The Commission is marking International Women's Day with the publication of a new report on equality between men and women, which shows the major achievements and progress made last year in EU legislation, actions and funding possibilities.


In spite of the policy efforts and commitment to push further the gender equality agenda, an abundance of data and statistics show that only marginal progress has been made in the past years.

Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, added: "Gender equality is not just about women. It is about our society, our economy and our demography. We want to guarantee that women are truly equal to men in front of the law. We will also continue work to empower women, so they can make their own choices when it comes to their careers and their families."

The report shows that women still face challenges in different areas:

  • While European women are better educated than men (44 % women aged 30-34 vs 34 % men got university degree in 2016), they remain largely under-represented in decision-making positions in companies and still earn 16 % less than men on average across the EU.
  • Women are also under-represented in politics. In six countries (Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, and Malta) women represent less than 20 % of   parliament members.
  • The gender gap in employment has stagnated for the last few years at around 11 percentage points. There has been no noteworthy catch-up between low and high performing Member States.
  • 44 % of Europeans in average think that women should take care of their homes and families. In one third of EU Member States, it is no less than 70 % of Europeans who think so.
  • Violence is still too wide-spread: One in three women in Europe has experienced either physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. Also 55 % of women in the EU has experienced sexual harassment.

For more information

The 2018 report and Women's Day

Gender Equality and combatting violence

Women in Digital