Men and women have always experienced the world in a different way. Gender matters, however, most of the time gender is not an easy conversation to have for both men and women. One might argue that it has never been a better time to be a woman. Due to changes in policy and laws, at present there are many more opportunities for women than decades ago. In many parts of the world, women can control their personal lives and their financial status, can run companies and can even run countries.
However, in the EU one in three women has been a victim of physical and/or sexual violence. Although the number of women who receive a university degree has increased, they are paid on average 16% less than men. Only 22 countries have an elected woman head of state or government, while 119 states have never had a woman leader. According to the UN, it’s discriminatory laws, practices, attitudes and gender stereotypes together with low levels of education, lack of access to health care and the unbalanced effect of poverty on women that keep them away from the political sphere.
To address this, the EU has published the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 which proposes key actions to promote gender-balanced participation in decision-making positions and encourage the participation of women as voters and candidates in the 2024 European Parliament elections.
At Institut Vert, we believe that gender equality measures are core to public policymaking. Currently, there is a need to devote more resources to support women to become political candidates. Women should feel empowered to use their leadership skills, to build their capacities. Both men and women should advocate for legislative reforms to ensure that women have fair access to the political spheres - as voters, candidates, elected officials and civil service members. Women have rights that societies need to endorse and policies should strengthen – such as the right to vote and to campaign free from electoral violence.
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