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Policy & advocacy session on gender inequalities in care and pay in the EU

International Women’s Day 2021

This Policy and Advocacy session on gender inequalities in care and pay on 9th March organised by COFACE Families Europe came in a crucial moment of social developments within the EU. The Study Session immediately followed the International Women’s Day (8th March), came after a year of the adoption of the European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy (GES), a few months after the EPSCO Council conclusions adopted under the German Presidency of the EU with guidelines aiming at closing the care gap  and the European Parliament voted its own report on the GES, and finally in the middle of the transposition of the EU Work-life balance directive adopted in 2019.

Different reports have stated that during the pandemic of Covid-19 the gender care gap is on the increase, with women taking up a disproportionate share of additional household and caring tasks, despite the fact that many men have been teleworking as well.

The study session therefore gathered different stakeholders (researchers, policy makers, civil organisations) to analyse how to tackle different gender gaps (care and pay), exchange good practices and challenges, and how to build bridges within the different stakeholders involved.

Our family of Emperor Penguins  accompanied us throughout this Study Session. The Emperor Penguin is a perfect example that nature provides us of gender equality and co-responsibility. The Emperor Penguin tackles too the stereotypical vision of “traditional” and old-fashioned distributions of roles, where women are caregivers and men are the breadwinners, just as COFACE Families Europe has always been promoting.



9th March 2021, from 9.15-11.15 CET online

9.00-9.15 Virtual coffee

09.15-9.30 Welcome
Annemie Drieskens, President of COFACE Families Europe  (speech)

9.30-10.00 Gender inequalities in care and its consequences on the labour market: state of play (full presentation)

Speaker: Blandine Mollard, Researcher, European Institute for Gender Equality.

10.00-10.20 German Presidency Council Conclusions on tackling the gender pay gap: Valuation and Distribution of Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work (full presentation)

Speaker: Thomas Fischer, Head of the Labour Market Unit in the Gender Equality Directorate of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Germany

10.20-11.00 Exchange with key stakeholders
Taking the two keynote presentations as a starting point, we will focus on the following key questions for discussion (with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in mind):

  •  What are the main reasons for the predominant sharing patterns and the links between the gender care gap and the gender pay gap?
  • Why is a more equal sharing of care responsibilities important, and what are key recommendations for closing the gender care gap?
  • How to make real a greater involvement of men in divisions of work and care at home?
  • How to use the research to build policies and campaigns?

11.00-11.15 Conclusions and next steps
Pascual Martinez, COFACE Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer

COFACE family organisations, EU Work-life balance alliance, Violence against women coalition, EU and national policy-makers, researchers.

Working language:

Objectives of the session
-Connect research, policy and practice of organisations working on gender equality from different perspectives.
-Consider ways to strengthen advocacy and policy to close the gender care gap.

Programme here

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