Chapter 22

Toward Gender Equality in European Union Labour Markets

Achievements and Contemporary Challenges

Catherine Casey

University of Leicester, UK


Over the last three or four decades many efforts at national and supranational policy levels have sought to improve gender equality in the working lives of women and men (see J. Martin, this volume). Prominent among these efforts have been those of the policy institutions of the European Union (EU) which have initiated action programmes along with legislative measures to improve gender equality across a full spectrum of industry and occupational sectors and across all member states of the European Union. Many important developments toward advancing gender equality have resulted. In particular, the European Employment Strategy since its inception in the late 1990s has explicitly adopted a strategy for mainstreaming gender (defined below) in order to raise gender equality issues to a central prominence in employment policies and practices and to advance their achievement. These policy efforts, which link gender equality in employment with wider social aspirations toward full gender equality, social justice, and social citizenship participation in society more broadly, have gained attention and influence in other parts of the world.

The adoption of European Union and national member state policies and regulations toward achieving gender equalities in the labour market has achieved significant increases in rates of employment ...

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