The European Institute for Gender Equality in Vilnius and the committee for Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) meet to discuss their cooperation during a first visit to the Institute. Other important points of discussion were the Europe 2020 strategy, reconciliation and violence against women.

Over the course of two days the FEMM committee’s visit to EIGE featured discussions on their cooperation. A number of issues were covered, with the FEMM committee delegation led by Ms. Edit Bauer, MEP from Slovakia.

We had a very good discussion on EIGE’s main areas of engagement including violence against women, the future EU gender Equality Index, stereotypes, reconciliation of career, family life and private life and relation to the objectives of the EU 2020 strategy”, states Virginija Langbakk, Director of EIGE.

The link between the EU 2020 Strategy and Gender Equality is very visible according to Ms. Edit Bauer. In the Opinion paper on the “Demographic challenge and solidarity between generations” published by the FEMM and the Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) Committees, her main focus rested on the EU 2020 Strategy and on the fact that the employment rate for women must also increase to create financial growth.

Although all European Member States are addressing the issue of reconciliation policies and are looking to emulate the successes of Sweden, Denmark and Finland - where fathers’ participation in parental leave represents 20%, a large disparity stills looms.

Research carried out by The Bank of Italy shows that if female employment can rise to, for instance 60 % in a country like Italy, then gross domestic product would also rise 7 %. Taking into account that certain countries’ growth rates amount to a mere 1% - this linkage is worth keeping in mind.

Violence against women

Another important issue was that of violence against women where Ms. Edit Bauer and Mr. Marc Tarabella, MEP from Belgium, both underlined the necessity for EIGE and the FEMM Committee to heighten their efforts for cooperation.

The position of the FEMM committee on the importance of violence confirms the significance of gathering the data in this area, which helps to analyse the size and nature of the challenge and we are due to deliver a first smaller study later on this year”, states Virginija Langbakk.

The meeting also bordered on the issue of Stereotypes another important area to work on. In many areas stereotyping occurs, and the need for Gender Mainstreaming – another main EIGE focal area – is quite visible according to the members of the delegation from the FEMM committee.