Empowering women in the EU and beyond

Written by Ellen Halliday on . Posted in Current features, Features

GlobalStat is a public information tool which collects data through collaboration with more than eighty International institutions and entities, including the IMF, OECD, Transparency International and the World Bank. The project is based at the European University Institute and, in particular, benefits from the EUI’s Global Governance Programme’s research. It aims to create transparent and accessible information on developments in a globalised world. Political scientist Gaby Umbach is director of GlobalStat.

GlobalStat, in collaboration with the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), have released a series of briefings to mark International Women’s Day 2017 on March 8th.

GlobalStat Director Gaby Umbach

GlobalStat Director Gaby Umbach

‘In the best of GlobalStat traditions, the new GlobalStat-EPRS briefing series ‘Empowering Women in the EU and beyond’ informs about the way women live, the freedoms they enjoy and the limitations they face in the EU and around the world,’ explained GlobalStat Director Gaby Umbach.

‘The first output of a deepened collaboration with the EPRS gives GlobalStat the excellent opportunity to reach particularly European decision
-makers on a topic that is vital for supporting the overall success of the new Sustainable Development Goals.’

The series analyses the impact and state of gender equity within EU Member States and puts them into a global perspective. It doing so, it points at a variety of political, economic, social and cultural elements are empowering and can further empower women. The release includes a general briefing, and four reports on particular subject areas.

On education and reproductive health, data points to the fundaments of female empowerment, that is, the development of women’s intellectual capacities and physical potential to participate in society. In particular it shows that life expectancy in Europe has increased by 11 years since 1960, whilst in the rest of the world is has increased 19 years. Some changes have been more dramatic: Romania’s infant mortality rate dropped 68% from 1990 to 2015.

The data presented on the labour market breaks down gender differences by age and part or full-time employment. It also takes not of how women with children fare in the labour market and the proportion of women employed as scientists and engineers. Here, GlobalStat and EPRS highlight the full potential women have to play in working life and the importance of social policies in creating an environment that enables them to do so.

‘Underpinning these areas are gender dynamics that shape educational patterns and approaches, labour market access and social protection policies,’ said Umbach. ‘These include what is known as the ‘second demographic transition’ (i.e. lower fertility rates across social classes and women’s rising educational level) and the gendered impact of the financial and economic crisis,’ she explained.

Statistics on gender inequality often include data about the number of presidents and prime ministers. GlobalStat’s data reflects on the emergence of female leaders in politics, business and other fields which have historically seen an absence of women from traditional arenas of leadership. Yet the report goes a little further, including analysis of leadership and conflict resolution, showing the involvement of women in political violence and armed conflicts.

‘On the one hand, the data underlines that there are still small numbers of women in senior leadership positions in relation to their share in total population. The fact is fact that more effort is needed to enhance gender equity and to empower women in this most relevant area of political life,’ said Umbach. ‘On the other hand, data shows the different roles played by women in conflicts, as key agents in mediation, peace-making and transitional justice; as targets of violent extremism; as victims of gender-based violence; and as foreign fighters.’

Lastly, the briefing on economic and financial resources looks at the gender pay gap and beyond, highlighting the relevance of female participation in economic and financial power. ‘Equal access to and control over financial and economic resources are key to empowering women to lead independent lives,’ said Umbach.  ‘The elimination of poverty, the increase in family income, better nutrition and a stronger societal position are only some of the outcomes strengthened by female empowerment through financial inclusion.’

See Gaby Umbach’s blog about the briefings on the European Parliamentary Research Service Blog.


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