EU gender equality strategy: the role of social protection systems

On 5 March, the European Commission published its Gender equality strategy for 2020 to 2025. ESIP welcomes this strategy which in some respects goes beyond the previous strategic engagement for gender equality for 2016 to 2019, with its broader approach to gender mainstreaming, to be included in all steps of EU policies. As recognised in the targeted actions proposed by the Commission on closing the gender employment, care and pension gaps, social protection systems have an important role to play to empower women, by supporting their participation in the labour market and compensating for the impact on their income of care responsibilities.


As a representative of social security systems, ESIP has already raised light of the role of social protection systems, and specifically family policies in an event held at the European Parliament in December 2019. The role of family policies in supporting parents to care for their children, in granting ECEC with funding to allow participation of women on the labour market and compensating for time dedicated for care activities at the stage of pension were highlighted. However, the design of family policies is not neutral and can impact positively or negatively gender equality. One example is that of the length of maternity leave, which should neither be too short nor too long, according to research conducted by our French member CNAF. We can also start to consider the need to better adapt social security systems to changing demography and family structures with an individualisation of rights. In this way, social protection systems can continue to play a major role to reduce gender inequalities.

ESIP will continue to support the exchange of best practices between national social security experts and stands ready to provide the outcome of those exchanges to the EU decision-makers.

Find out more about the main conclusions of our event.