In spite of recent significant progress, gender inequality
remains a serious problem, particularly in the economy, with unjustified
differences in remuneration (gender pay gap, later translating into
a pension gap), difficult access to employment, slower career progression,
gender segmentation (over-representation of women or men in a given
economic sector) and low numbers of women in high-level positions
in major firms (glass ceiling).
Changing this situation is both possible and necessary. In
the last few years, innovative policies and legislation in several
Council of Europe member States have included the introduction of
quotas for the under-represented gender on management boards, obligations
of transparency on levels of remuneration in private companies and
a form of gender equality certification or labelling.
Barriers to women’s economic empowerment are to a large extent
of a cultural nature. Therefore, cultural measures, including in
the areas of training and education, as well as awareness raising
and information, can play an important role in promoting equality.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education
in particular should be promoted among women and girls as they are
severely under-represented in this area that is highly promising
in terms of economic development and career opportunities.