EIGE's Director Carlien Scheele delivered this speech to the European Parliament FEMM committee on 25 January 2022.

Good afternoon honourable members, and everybody else who is joining us today.

It’s great to be here to speak about EIGE’s work programme in 2022.

We have three priority topics for the coming years. An economy that works for people in 2022, a European green deal in 2023, and our ongoing priority of gender-based violence across the years.

This year, we will be doing things slightly differently at EIGE. The first is that we are now even more explicitly aligning our work programme with the political priorities of the European Commission. This will help us support the EU’s Gender Equality Strategy even more precisely with our research. 

We have three priority topics for the coming years. An economy that works for people in 2022, a European green deal in 2023, and our ongoing priority of gender-based violence across the years.

Today, I will focus on an economy that works for people and gender-based violence.

When it comes to an economy that works for people, we’re starting by looking at the economy of the future, and how it’s looking different for women and men.

Next week on 31st January, we are releasing a report looking at how platform work (such as ride hailing and food delivery), and artificial intelligence are transforming the labour market – and how we can seize the opportunities of this brave new world to make sure women benefit as much as men.

To get information for the study, we surveyed platform workers, who gave us  first-hand insights into the sector.

We found out some interesting things.

Did you know, for example, that most platform workers are young, highly educated and working another job alongside their food delivery or ride hailing gigs?

And did you know that there’s less of a gender split in the work that people do on platforms, with men making up almost half of those providing housekeeping services?

We will need to bear these elements in mind when regulating this new sector, which is why we’ve timed our new report to coincide with the EU’s legislation to regulate platform work and the artificial intelligence sector.

The European Commission has already used EIGE’s evidence to inform its draft legislative proposals, and the Council has cited the study in its December conclusions.    

As well as predicting what the economy of the future holds, EIGE will spend 2022 continuing to assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on gender equality.

This year’s Gender Equality Index will show how the pandemic has affected the gender quality scores of the EU and its Member States. 

We already saw in our Gender Equality Index 2021 that big losses are starting to emerge as a result of the pandemic.

We are taking an in-depth look at the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. Much of the new evidence will come from EIGE’s first EU-wide survey, which asked women and men how much their paid and unpaid hours changed during the pandemic. This will provide policymakers with the information they need to help get us out of the crisis.

Of course, EU policymakers have long been working hard to counter the negative effects of the pandemic. The recovery and resilience facility is moving along, and with huge thanks to the FEMM committee, includes a requirement for Member States to show how their national plans will advance gender equality.

EIGE is currently examining how well the EU is mainstreaming gender into its COVID-19 recovery measures, and we will have a report ready in early 2023. This report is being prepared at the request of the Swedish presidency of the Council.  

EIGE is also supporting the Commission with expertise on public reforms and budgets that drive gender equality. This will help ensure gender mainstreaming in the implementation of EU countries’ resilience and recovery plans.

Speaking of how to spend public money, we will also be launching a toolkit on gender-responsive public procurement in 2022. This will help public authorities in the EU spend the €2 trillion they use on public procurement each year in a more just and efficient way.  

We will be releasing an updated version of our tool for Gender Equality in Academia and Research, or GEAR tool, which will help research institutions funded under Horizon Europe implement gender mainstreaming.

As you know, the Gender Equality Strategy puts a heavy focus on gender mainstreaming as way to achieve equality. Since its adoption, we’ve had a big increase in request for technical assistance for gender mainstreaming from EU institutions and governments in Member States.

This is of course a very good sign. Decision-makers and officials are taking this transformative approach for gender equality seriously. 

However, due to the very limited resources of the Institute, we have unfortunately had to turn down the majority of the requests.

We look forward to a time when we can hopefully be bigger, and able to accept many more of these important requests.

Now, let me speak about our work on gender-based violence.

We are currently finishing a study we prepared at the request of the French presidency of the EU, on psychological violence and coercive control. This will provide new evidence on a key element of gender-based violence. 

We are also conducting a study on cyber violence against women and girls. As part of this study, we are compiling all concepts, definitions and terminology each country uses when referring to different forms of cyber violence, such as cyber bullying, cyber stalking and cyber harassment.

Based on this unprecedented mapping exercise, we will nail down what it is we really mean when we talk about these different forms of violence. This will enable us to develop a set of indicators to help EU countries collect rich and comparable data on cyber violence.  

On data collection, we are continuing to promote our 13 indicators on intimate partner violence of the police and judiciary, and will look into expanding these to also capture cases of domestic violence in the EU Member States.

We are also contributing to Eurostat’s survey on gender-based violence. In the countries where Eurostat is not collecting data, EIGE is stepping in together with the Fundamental Rights Agency. This will enable us to have EU-wide comparable data 10 years after the Fundamental Rights Agency’s ground-breaking survey on the situation of violence against women, which we have all cited so often in our reports and resolutions.

The results of the survey will be released in 2024, and will form the basis of our Gender Equality Index’s focus on gender-based violence that year.

Last, we are releasing a study looking at how countries respond to femicide cases, at how they provide justice to victims and their families, and at how they can improve.

Before I close with some news from EIGE, I will quickly touch on our activities in two more areas of work.

As part of our cooperation with EU candidate countries and potential candidates, we will continue to gather regular data on women and men in decision-making, and we will support a number of beneficiaries in developing their own gender equality indices. Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Albania have all developed their own indices in the past with the support of EIGE.

We will also continue to examine the backlash against gender equality. I don’t need to tell you how successful tactics from those who oppose equality have been in some countries. Rights have been rolled back and a hostile environment created for those who defend women’s rights, and those of the LGBTI community. 

This is why we will finalise a briefing on anti-gender initiatives in the EU in 2022. This will give us more information on who exactly it is we are facing, and on why their methods have been so successful.

And because attacks on gender equality often hinge on confusion and misinformation, we are also preparing a briefing on policy and legal interpretations of gender, in order to bring clarity to discussions.

Now very quickly for some news, we have now opened a liaison office in Brussels, which will enable us to be more present in policy discussions, including of course those in the FEMM committee.

And last, autumn 2022 will also see us host for the first time a new flagship forum, bringing together about 2,000 people to speak about the most burning gender equality issues of our day.

Watch this space.  

Thank you, I look forward to hearing your questions.