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Friday, October 29, 2010

Fight against gender stereotypes: the European Union initiatives

Employment, Social Affairs, Public Management, Human Rights,Research centres,Local and Regional authorities,Corporations,Training centres,Federations Unions,Administrations States,Agencies Chambers,SMEs,Universities,Non-profit organisations,International Organisation,

News Initiatives developed and implemented by EU Member states lead different types of stakeholders to collaborate to fight against gender stereotypes and to promote equality in the workplace.

Gender stereotypes generate assumptions about the different occupations or sectors in which men and women work. For example, in a supermarket, it’s often presumed that the cashiers will be predominately female and storeroom workers male. These assumptions can have a negative impact, as they restrict the range of options that women and men have open to them when looking for a job or planning a career. Often traditions and stereotypes affect the careers of women and men through influencing their choice of educational paths. For example, mathematics, science and technology are perceived as ‘boys’ subjects’, which results in fewer female pupils taking these subjects at school. This leads to fewer female graduates and fewer women working in these fields, despite the fact that more than half of all new university graduates in the EU are women. In this way, gender stereotypes both lead to and reinforce existing segregation in the labour market with women continuing to work in jobs and sectors which are often lower valued and lower paid than those where men are the majority. However, things are changing with initiatives taking place across the EU. To learn more, some examples at national level are now available. * In Belgium an annual Equal Pay Day has been established, with the aim of raising awareness of the public about the persistence of gender wage inequality. * In Greece a guide for the integration of gender equality in firms, including equal pay for work of equal value, with recommendations to public administration and social partners has been developed. * In Portugal, the Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment promotes several awareness raising actions on gender equality [PT] in the context of training courses for judges and other agents involved in the process of justice administration. These cover topics such as the reconciliation of professional and personal life and working conditions for parents. * In Lithuania, the Women’s Employment Information Centre of Kaunas carried out the project 'Innovative Strategies for Educating Social Partners Seeking to Implement the Equal Opportunities Principle in Practice’ in 2006-2007. Through a weekly TV talk show and a public information campaign, the project challenged stereotypes of traditional female and male roles, encouraged men to take equal responsibility for children and sought to change employers’ attitudes towards women. * In the UK, the WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) campaign promotes science, engineering, technology, mathematics and construction as career choices among girls and women. It works with industry and education to encourage girls to value and pursue courses in these subjects and then move onto related careers. The campaign has helped to double the percentage of female engineering graduates from 7% in 1984 to 15% today.

Source :  DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities


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