Gender equality good for growth2009/10/15
Today and tomorrow the Swedish presidency arranges a high level conference on what gender equality means for economic growth and employment. It is jointly hosted byself as minister responsible for the Lisbon Strategy and Nyamko Sabuni, minister of gender equality. The idea is to discuss gender equality, not only as an important value and moral policy to enable men and women to fully maximise their potential, but also as a tool for economic growth and increased welfare.
The term gender equality on the one hand and economic development on the other hand, has all too often been deemed contradictory. This is a serious misconception. Several studies show that equal conditions for men and women to take active parts in working life leads to more jobs, increased demand, economic growth, increased individual freedom and higher fertility rates. The situation concerning child care and other services, taxes, attitudes etc vary between the 27 EU countries but in all member states there is a considerable salary gap.
As the Lisbon agenda is coming to an end, and the economic crisis is far from over, there is a clear case to discuss gender equality and growth together. The two day conference gathers ministers responsible for gender policies and Lisbon strategy in the two trios (France, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Spain, Belgium and Hungary) together with civil servants from different ministries in the 27 member states, the European Parliament, Ecosoc, experts, academics and representatives for the civil society. The outcome of the conference will be used as input to the Council conclusions on the new Lisbon Strategy in december.