Policy of gender equality in European Union

Leta Dromantienė

Abstract


The article discusses the relationship between gender equality and political priorities in the social policy of the European Union. The policy areas closely related to the status of women and gender equality in Western welfare states are not only policies explicitly lebelled as gender equality policies. Today it is not possible in most Western European countries to clearly distinguish between gender equality policies and other policies aimed at family or individual redistribution.
The article emphasizes that women’s rights have long been on the European Union policy agenda not from desire to achieve equality between sexes, but as a means of ensuring fair competition between member states. The initial motivation for Community intervention in gender issues was to avoid any one member state gaining a competetive edge, in this case by paying women at lower rates than men. In accordance with the overall objectives of the EEC Treaty, the attention paid to women in the Union has been primarily, and almost exclusively, in their capacity as workers.
Economic reconstruction, expanding opportunities in education and changes in family structure all contributed to producing an environment in which national governments were receptive to proposals for promoting gender equality. In the areas of equal pay and equal treatment, some member states have been in the forefront of change, others have kept pace with European legislation, while yet others have only gradually implemented directives, generally in response to infringement proceedings.

Keywords


equality; equal rights; oportunities; responsibilities; social security; fair competition

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789