International Women’s Day 2014

published 25 February 2014 updated 25 February 2014

Celebrated annually on 8 March, International Women’s Day encourages advocacy for women's advancement and gender equality. With thousands of events worldwide, it calls for challenging the status quo for women's equality and for inspiring positive change.

This year, in parallel with the annual European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUC) 8th of March survey, ETUCE, is conducting an analysis of the impact of austerity politics on gender equality in the education sector, which will end on International Women’s Day. All ETUCE member organisations are invited to contribute to this analysis ( http://pages.ei-ie.org/limesurvey/index.php/427553/lang-en).

The topic of International Women’s Day 2014, supported by ETUC, the European Parliament, and the Fundamental Rights Agency, is: “Preventing violence against women - a challenge for all'. The persistent issue of violence against women shows that equality is not only an issue of social and economic justice but a fundamental human right.

Certainly, women’s equality has made positive gains in the past century. In 2014, however, the world is still unequal and the recent austerity measures have had a negative impact on women’s rights and gender equality in Europe. In many European countries, reversals of gender equality policies can be observed. As resources are withdrawn in the public service sector, women pay double the price of the crisis: as taxpayers but also as employees because of the deterioration of working conditions, and, finally, as mothers and daughters as they compensate with more family work for the lack of public services.

Gender equality is a particularly pressing issue in the field of education as most of the people working in education are women. Austerity has increased teaching hours for many teachers and education staff in Europe. In support of Education International’s statement, ETUCE wishes to underline that quality education for girls and women is progress for all.

ETUCE also encourages its affiliates to send representatives to the second EI World Women’s Conference which will take place in Dublin, Ireland, from 7-9 April 2014. The conference theme is Women in Trade Unions and in Education: from Words to Action. The conference programme takes up key topics regarding women’s organising and leadership within education trade unions, and women’s and girls’ participation in, and successful completion of, quality education.