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Date : Sunday, 19 August 2018

Fostering Gender Equality in the Workplace: Developing Inclusive Labour Markets for Women Across the EU

Employment and Social policy
Date: Tuesday, 10 April 2018 10:00 - 16:30

Venue: Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre  |  City: Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium

Women’s participation in the European labour force is critical in terms of quantity and quality. In 2016, the EU28 gender employment gap was 11.6%, with this gap varying considerably between Member States, ranging from 1.9% (Lithuania) to 27.7% (Malta). Additionally, women often constitute the workforce for low-skilled and low-paid jobs, and frequently with precarious employment conditions. The EU average gender pay gap is 16.3%, meaning that for every €1 earned by a man, a woman gets only 84 cents.

The second principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights, proclaimed in November 2017, calls for the equality of treatment and opportunities between women and men, while stating the right to equal pay for work of equal value. The proposal for a Directive on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers represents the first deliverable to implement the Pillar, modernising the current EU legal framework on family-related leaves and flexible working arrangements, thus encouraging a better sharing of caring responsibilities between women and men. In addition to that, and consistently with the Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016-2019, in November 2017 the European Commission adopted an Action Plan to tackle the gender pay gap, presenting a set of measures to be implemented in 2018-2019. The Action Plan was accompanied by an Evaluation Report of the Pay Transparency Recommendation, adopted by the Commission in 2014.

Pay discrimination is linked to the so-called vertical segregation of women in the labour market, their career progression to senior roles being less frequent when moving up the hierarchies. But segregation is horizontal too, with women still mostly excluded from some male-dominated fields and professions. This segregation, together with further vulnerabilities deriving from violence and harassment experienced in the workplace, are persistent obstacles for the achievement of gender equality at work. Besides this, the gaps experienced by female workers are also influenced by how societies deal with the issue of unpaid care work. The unbalanced distribution of such activities between women and men limits female employment opportunities, reducing the time that could be spent in work-related training and skill development.

This symposium provides a timely opportunity for experts, national authorities, social partners and other key stakeholders to discuss the latest policy developments at EU level to tackle gender-based discrimination in the workplace. It will also allow delegates to analyse the different drivers of inequality between female and male workers, and to identify priorities for future policy actions in order to remove the remaining barriers to women’s access to the labour market.

Delegates will:

  • Delve into the latest EU policy developments aiming at the achievement of gender equality at work
  • Understand the dynamics behind the horizontal and vertical segregation of female workers and debate about proportionate remedies
  • Explore effective solutions to close the gender pay gap
  • Discuss about measures and methods to tackle violence and harassment against  women at work
  • Assess the role of social partners in ensuring an empowering workplace for women
  • Examine the consequences of unpaid care work on female employment
  • Exchange views about innovative policy answers to encourage a more equal share of caring tasks between women and men


09:15 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:00 Chair's Welcome and Opening Remarks

Considering the European Framework to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace

  • Achieving Equality in the Workplace in Light of the EU Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016-2019
  • Evaluating the 2017 EU Action Plan to Tackle Gender Pay Gap
  • Assessing the Proposal for a Directive on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers 
10:40 First Round of Discussions
11.10 Morning Coffee Break

Levelling the Playing Field: Combating the Discrimination of Female Workers

  • Implementing the Principle of Equal Pay: Increasing Pay Transparency to Promote Gender-neutral Wage Structures
  • Combating Occupational Gender Segregation: Expanding Educational Opportunities to Better Match Career Aspirations
  • Removing Barriers to Professional Advancements of Women: Delving into the Agile Nation 2 Programme
12:00 Second Round of Discussions
12.30 Networking Lunch

Developing Solutions to Address Violence and Harassment against Women at Work

  • Assessing the Impacts of Gender-based Violence and Harassment in the World of Work
  • Understanding the Role of Social Partners: Emphasising Gender in Collective Bargaining and Social Dialogue
  • Discussing Measures to Prevent and Eliminate Violence and Harassment in the Workplace, Including the ILO Standard-setting Process on Violence Against Women and Men in the World of Work
14.00 Third Round of Discussions
14:30 Afternoon Coffee Break

Balancing the Distribution of Unpaid Care Work between Women and Men

  • Highlighting the Effects of Unpaid Care Responsibilities on Female Employment
  • Ensuring Access to Affordable and Accessible Care Services
  • Promoting Flexible Working Arrangements and Adequate Work Life Balance Policies
15.20 Fourth Round of Discussions
15:50 Chair's Summary and Closing Remarks
16.00 Networking Reception and Refreshments
16.30 Symposium Close

** Please note that the programme and speakers are subject to change without notice **

Who Should Attend?

  • HR Professionals
  • Training Managers
  • Recruitment Advisers
  • Private Sectors Employers
  • Public Sector Employers
  • Third Sector Employers
  • Organisational Development Professionals
  • Senior Manager and Directors
  • Equal Opportunities Officers
  • Social Exclusion Officers
  • Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Practitioners
  • Employee Relations Advisers
  • Legal Advisers
  • Judges and Lawyers
  • Anti-Discrimination Agencies
  • Campaigning Organisations
  • Human Rights Groups
  • Women’s Associations
  • Women’s Enterprise Agencies
  • Women’s Centres
  • Institutes for Training and Employment
  • Institutes for Social Inclusion of Women
  • Research Centres for Gender Equalities
  • Women’s Networks
  • Women’s Councils
  • Joint Committees on Women
  • Healthcare Services Employers
  • Police and Fire Service
  • College and University Administrators
  • Central Government Departments and Bodies
  • Local Authority Officers and Councillors
  • Small Business Owners
  • Regulatory Bodies
  • Employers’ Associations
  • Third Sector Practitioners
  • Trade Union Representatives
  • Academics and Researchers


Avenue du Boulevard 17, 1210 Brussels
Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium




All Dates

  • Tuesday, 10 April 2018 10:00 - 16:30

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