Topic 2 Gender Equality – Employment – Work life balance – Pay Gap

The principle of Work Life Balance in the deliverable ‘New  Start’ to address the challenges of working parents and  career states that:

“Parents and people with caring responsibilities have the  right to suitable leave, flexible working arrangements and  access to care services. Women and men shall have equal  access to special leaves of absence in order to fulfil their  caring responsibilities and be encouraged to use them in a  balanced way” (principle 9).

Employment – Care – Migrants

A high number of female migrants travel to Europe to  work as caregivers, where they often do not have legal  work permits, hindering their access to favourable  working conditions or salaries. This increases pressure on  migrant female workers, for whom support provided  within national social protection policies or ESIF-funded  interventions can be limited.

The following data refer to the whole of the EU: 

  • There has been progress for women in the labour market, but they are under-represented in management positions.

  • Men are under-represented in unpaid care work.

  • Only 1 in 3 men engages daily in cooking and housework, compared to almost every woman.

  • Almost no improvements on gender equality concerning unpaid care responsibilities.

  • Pressure on women to provide care to household, children, old people or disabled people, causes the reduce of their working hours, leave paid employment  or no access to labour market.

  • Almost 20% of women provide 20 hours or more of informal care each week.


Women’s employment rate in the EU is  higher today than ever before BUT

      • Women are underrepresented in the labour marker, either because of their gender, conditions  of vulnerability or marginalisation due to their  ethnicity, religion or migrant background

      • Wider pension gap shows that older women are more  at risk of poverty than men

      • Lack of transparency shows that many women do not  know or cannot prove they are underpaid


How can women and men have better and equal Work Life Balance (WLB)?

The European Pact for Gender Equality 2011– 2020 presents how the ESIF will manage gender

inequalities and information on promoting a better Work Life Balance for women and men.

How to increase the participation of women in the labour market?

The Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016-2019 calls on the European Commission to  support Member States to use the ESIF for investments in, among others, public childcare and care  for older people. The European Parliament promotes the use of EU Funds to enhance gender equality.

The Commission will ensure that all Member States implement the Work-Life Balance Directivewhich introduces minimum standards for family leave and flexible working arrangements for  workers and promotes equal sharing of caring of responsibilities and childcare between men and  women.

A way to promote better and equal work is also to invest in care services so that women can participate in paid work and their professional development and subsequently create more jobs for men and women, as well as ensuring the inclusion of all LGBTQIA+ people.

Source: UN Women