Anneliese spoke at the Gender Equality Festival at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, on the topic of women and policy making in the EU.
Anneliese praised the progress that has been made towards gender equality within the European Parliament, with over 50% of Labour MEPs being women, and women such as Frederica Mogherini, the new EU foreign policy chief, increasingly taking up leadership positions in the EU. However, Anneliese also argued that there is still much more to be done – across the EU, women still consistently earn less than men, and women has disproportionately borne the brunt of adjustment policies across the EU, many of which were actively promoted by EU institutions. Women are far less likely than men to have access to decent pensions, and many are trapped in unstable and exploitative zero-hours contracts.
The EU’s failings in addressing these inequalities not only has a negative impact on the lives of individual women, but is also bad for the wider EU economy. It is not enough to simply talk about ‘women’s issues’ – the EU must take concrete action which will benefit women, and in doing so, create sustainable economic growth.