The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is strongly committed to achieving equality between women and men. Women make up more than 50% of Europe’s population, and equal opportunities are a fundamental principle of a fair society. ETUC works to promote women’s rights, as well as equality between women and men in the labour market and society in general. In doing so, ETUC tackles issues such as equal pay, job quality, women in decision making, reconciliation of private, family and professional life and working conditions in the home, in society and the trade unions themselves. According to a survey, entitled Women in trade unions in Europe: Bridging the gap and carried out by ETUC in 2006, women made up about 42% of trade union members, totaling 25 million female trade unionists across Europe.
A long way to go
Achieving gender equality entails changing Europe’s long-hour work ethos and offering a better work–life balance for both men and women within a framework of comprehensive care provision. In 2005, the European social partners – namely, ETUC, the Confederation of European Business (BUSINESSEUROPE, previously UNICE), the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME) and the European Centre of Enterprises
with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP) – signed a Framework of actions on gender equality; its implementation is monitored through the adoption of annual follow-up reports. ETUC also adopted several resolutions and action plans in order to promote effective gender equality in the society.
ETUC Women’s Committee
Since 1975, a Women’s Committee has been in place and actively pursues these aims. This body adopts positions on issues relating to equality between women and men and monitors the implementation of gender mainstreaming in ETUC’s policies, including its Charter on gender mainstreaming adopted at the Seville Congress in May 2007.
The ETUC website provides information on a number of policy activities that the confederation develops in the framework of gender equality. This information can be accessed either by topic or type of document at the following links: