The European Parliament has committed to eliminate Europe’s gender pay gap by 2020, and to get at least 40% representation for women on boards. The idea is simple: equality from the base to the tip of the jobs pyramid. My ambition is to ensure we in Britain do our bit to achieve this.
It won’t be easy. We are a country with severe income inequalities, and women bear the brunt of this. Female workers are two times more likely to be badly paid or underemployed and four times less likely to be on boards. We lag behind other EU countries for women in politics, women making economic decisions, women in senior jobs and women in the judiciary. Our gender pay gap is the sixth worst in Europe, as a result of which on November 7th of each year women effectively cease to be paid for the work they do.
Moreover the recession has hit us hard. Since 2006 we’ve fallen from 9th to 18th in the Global Gender Gap Index. Our response to the crisis has been slower and more unfair for women than other countries’. As a country we are in danger of missing the European Commission’s 2020 goal of ‘inclusive growth’.
I’m determined not to let this happen. There are three things we in the UK need so as to help achieve the 2020 vision for women in Europe (click on them for more information):
We need equality across all aspects of the workplace. In 2013 this should be non-negotiable. As one of the biggest and best off EU countries, I want us to be leading Europe on this rather than following – as we currently are.
From now on I will be providing regular Gender 2020 bulletins on how we in Europe are doing on closing the gender pay gap. To receive these bullets please email Chris Clarke and ask to be added to our mailing list. Please also read my blog and follow me on twitter to receive the latest news, and read the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee monthly newsletter.