On the eve of International Women's Day, the Commission published a report on gender equality in the EU for 2021, which shows the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women. The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities between women and men in almost all areas, in Europe and beyond, and the hard-won shifts of recent years have disappeared.
Gender equality has never been so important in EU policy, and the Commission has made great efforts to implement the gender equality strategy adopted a year ago.
The Commission also issued the following statement: The COVID-19 pandemic spared no one, and was particularly difficult for women. Women found themselves at the forefront, in professions in which they were often represented - as doctors, nurses, teachers or saleswomen, but also at home, where they took on even more responsibilities.
Let us take a moment to thank women for their courage, compassion and contribution to the fight against this crisis, among other things for caring for the functioning of our societies and care systems and for the availability of the most basic services. Although most of the most exposed health care workers are women, they were hardly represented in pandemic decision-making processes. For example, in 87 countries, including 17 EU Member States, 85.2% of the national working groups for COVID-19 were led by men.
Gender equality must be taken into account in the recovery after a pandemic. Women must also be more represented in leading positions, whether in politics or in company management - we will continue to fight for that. Progress is hard to fight for, and easy to lose. We must work to keep Europe at the forefront of the fight for women's rights. Reversing is not an option - we have to move on.
In order to better illustrate the development of the situation in each of the 27 Member States, the Commission is launching a portal to monitor the gender equality strategy.