The 2009 report on equality between women and men confirms that despite some progress on gender equality, significant gaps still remain in several areas. While the employment rate of women has been steadily rising over the last years (now 58.3% for women against 72.5% for men), women still work part-time more often than men (31.2% for women and 7.7% for men) and they predominate in sectors where wages are lower (more than 40% of women work in health, education and public administration twice as many as men). However, women represent 59% of all new university graduates.
This report is adopted in the context of a global economic slowdown linked to the financial crisis, with negative repercussions on growth and employment in the EU. To confront the economic downturn it will be more important than ever to invest in human capital and social infrastructure, enabling both women and men to use their full potential.
In the Renewed Social Agenda the Commission reinforced its commitment to creating more and better jobs within the framework of the European Strategy for Employment and Growth. Gender equality is a key factor for this strategy to succeed, and a necessary contribution to responding to labour shortages and new skills needs.
Reference: Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Eurpean Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Equality between women and men 2009
COM(2009) 77, 27.2.2009