Policy

SexEdChalkboardGender equality has been a key principle of the EU since the Treaty of Rome in 1957, where the principle of equal pay for men and women was already recognised. Using the legal basis provided by the Treaties, the Union has adopted thirteen directives on gender equality since the 1970s.These directives covered, among other things, equal treatment concerning access to work, training, promotions and working conditions, including equal pay and social security benefits, as well as guaranteed rights to parental leave.

Education has a twofold impact on gender relations in society. On the one hand, it is a sector of the labour market where women and men develop careers. As in other parts of the public sector, the great majority of employees working in education are women. ETUCE seeks to support raising the attraction of the profession also for men, in particular with regards to early childhood education. Nonetheless, also in education, the number of women employees decreases dramatically the higher one goes up the hierarchical level of the education system.

On the other hand, the education sector has got a major impact on other sectors and on society as a whole because of its particular role. Gender relations are reproduced or transformed in the school systems through interactions between girls and boys, female and male teachers. Gender stereotypes limit the opportunities in the lives of girls and boys. Access to and participation in education should therefore be free of charge and free of barriers. Children and adolescents should have the same educational opportunities regardless of their socio-economic and cultural background, their families' educational levels and their genders.

ETUCE promotes gender equality within the teaching profession itself but also seeks to provide education staff, education employees and teacher unions with the know-how and tools that are necessary to promote a gender sensitive approach in education and consequently in society as a whole.

At European level, ETUCE has conducted several projects to promote gender equality within teacher unions and in the teaching profession. Various sets of recommendations were developed from these project activities, including the Gender Equality Action Plan, by which ETUCE commits itself to a series of actions at European level and advises its member organsations concerning actions at national level.

At world level, Education International advocates free access to quality education for all. This is especially significant for girls and women, not only because education facilitates the realisation of other human rights, but also because the educational achievements of women can have a direct impact within the family and across society. You can read more about Education International's activities at world level here.