Concept Note

 Irish EU Presidency 2013 Gender Equality Conference

Women’s Economic Engagement and the Europe 2020 Agenda

Why focus on Women’s Employment?

In 2010, the European Council adopted the Europe 2020 Strategy, the European Union’s new strategy for jobs and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It included among its five headline targets, the aim to raise to 75 % the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64, including through the greater participation of young people, older workers and low-skilled workers and the better integration of legal migrants

This target cannot be achieved without a marked increase in women’s labour market participation, as acknowledged in the new EU Employment Strategy  and by the European Council.  The European Commission’s conference "Europe and Jobs" , attended by the Presidents of the European Council, Parliament and Commission, placed an emphasis on women’s employment, and the benefits to business of capitalising on the academic and professional credentials and competencies of women in the EU.
The Irish Presidency re-launched discussion on this topic as an element of the public policy debate on the European Semester at its February 2013 EPSCO  Council. The active engagement of other Member States in the discussion lends support to the belief that further debate would be beneficial to the Europe 2020 process and to Europe’s economic growth, while also advancing the economic independence of women and advancing de facto gender equality. 

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