Gender Equality - Key Priorities for Managers - EU Elections 2024

2/7 – Ensure gender (and diversity) inclusive workplaces – EU Elections

69% of Europeans consider gender inequality a serious problem in the workplace, and 55% disagree with the fact that “in a family, the parent with the lower wage should stop working to care for the children.” 

That being said, only 47% favor action at the EU level to tackle the pay gap and most Europeans see that as a responsibility of national, local, and regional authorities.

A feeling of distance from European institutions could cause this. Despite initiatives such as those taken by the European Commission, with the launch of the EU Gender Equality Strategy to promote equal opportunities to thrive and participate in and lead our European society, the European Union still has a long way to go.

Also, while gender inequality at the workplace is perceived as a serious problem, Europeans see gender violence as a much more severe threat.




Gender Equality needs Social Dialogue

CEC European Managers thinks that European Social Dialogue is the best tool at our grasp.

Negotiation processes such as collective bargaining have proved effective in reducing the wage gap by 5% in women compared to those not covered by a collective bargaining agreement (ESDE 2020, The role of social dialogue for fairness and inclusion).

This is especially relevant when estimations show that, Across Member States, women earn, on average, between 12% and 14% less per hour than men (Eurostat, 2022).

CEC European Managers - Women Management

As a recognised EU Commission social partner, one of the top priorities of CEC European Managers is to provide leaders and managers with tools and knowledge on how to address this gap. It is the right thing to do; not doing it is more costly for our enterprises and harmful for the EU economy and competitiveness.

Well-renowned publications disseminated by IMF (International Monetary Fund), such as the 2018  Economic Gains from Gender Inclusion: New Mechanisms, New Evidence carried out by J. D. Ostry, J. Alvarez, R. Espinoza, and C. Papageorgiou, have proved that to be true.

In fact, the authors of this book concluded that women’s inclusion in the workplace can result in an overall increase in the country’s GDP compared to other countries that systematically exclude women.

That might be because women bring new skills to the workplace. To promote gender inclusivity, the authors suggested that “Tackling gender inequality in education and health care, including publicly financed maternity and paternity leave, expanded childcare, and elder care availability, can increase women’s participation in the labour market.”

Another effective policy could be promoting fairer tax systems that support labour markets in the context of a skills shortage.

Women’s inclusion in the workplace can result in an overall increase in the country’s GDP

Economic Gains From Gender Inclusion: New Mechanisms, New Evidence, International Monetary Fund

And who can prescribe and promote the gathered evidence on the benefits of gender equality in Europe? European managers.

Managers are bridge-builders and have a holistic approach to social dialogue. They facilitate and foster collective bargaining, implement cost-effective strategies, and ensure the enterprise’s productivity.

Use Your Leadership to Ensure Gender – and diversity – inclusive workplaces

Representing more than 1 million managers in Europe and being one of the social partners recognised by the European Commission, CEC European Managers has embarked on a campaign promoting 7 key priorities for managerial staff concerning the 2024 European Parliament Elections. 

Gender equality, inclusiveness and diversity are top priorities for CEC European Managers and we encourage our Member Organisations and EU leaders to vote and participate in the European Parliament elections to facilitate more productive and diverse work environments.

Our colleagues at Eurofound (the EU agency that works to improve employment conditions and social policies in the EU) showcased in 2020 that despite the long-standing attention paid and efforts made to tackle it, gender inequality at work was a persistent reality across Europe.

Led by the reporters Jorge CabritaJulie VanderleydenIsabella BilettaBarbara Gerstenberger, researchers used data from Eurofound’s European Working Condition Survey (EWCS) to highlight that improvement in the last 5 to 10 years remained limited.

In fact, according to the report, while men are more likely to work in more demanding physical environments and have a relatively worse working time quality than women, they are more likely to enjoy better pay.

CEC European Managers - Women Management

The same is true when considering the type of demands both groups are exposed to. While men are more often asked to work to tight deadlines, women are often exposed to handling emotional demands, such as talking to angry clients or patients.

In terms of social environment, men tend to receive less support from colleagues and managers, while women are much more likely to be exposed to adverse social behaviours.

As a consequence, women are often underrepresented in higher-level managerial roles.

Men are more often asked to work to tight deadlines, and women are often exposed to handling emotional demands

Eurofound, Working conditions and sustainable work. Gender equality at work, 2020

Several factors contribute to the ongoing gender gap in managerial positions, such as traditional gender roles and stereotypes, biases and discrimination, work-life balance challenges, or lack of representation.

That is why, in pursuing a progressive and inclusive future for the European Union, we urge policymakers, stakeholders, and managers to prioritize gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in all policy and corporate governance discussions.


Because creating gender—and diversity-inclusive workplaces requires a holistic approach involving leadership, workplace culture, policy choices, and conversations in the wider society, European managers must use their leadership to achieve these goals. 

You can download and post our Gender Equality carousel for LinkedIn here +

Don’t forget to share the hashtag #UseYourLeadership.