European Commission stands up for women’s rights in turbulent times

Today, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner Věra Jourová kick off a major event on “Women’s rights in turbulent times”, the topical theme chosen for this year’s annual Fundamental Rights Colloquium.  The Commission is also announcing concrete action to put an end to the gender pay gap through an Action Plan to be delivered between now and the end of its mandate in 2019. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Gender equality is a fundamental right, laid down in the EU Treaties. We must use the current focus on these issues in the media and politics to turn principle into practice. Women across Europe have the right to equality, empowerment and safety, but these rights are not yet a reality for far too many women. Today’s event is about helping to bring about behavioural change and policy change so that we improve the lives of our citizens. Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová added: “Women are still under-represented in decision-making positions in politics and the business world. They still earn 16% less than men on average across the EU. And violence against women is still widespread. This is unfair and unacceptable in today’s society. The gender pay gap must be closed, because the economic independence of women is their best protection against violence.” A new Eurobarometer survey also published today emphasises that gender equality is still not achieved in EU Member States.  A full press release is available online. More information on the Fundamental Rights Colloquium, including live streaming, is available here.