2030: The Gender Gap in Europe is Finally Closed!
The European Institution of Gender Equality

This article by Sandra Ericsson won the first prize in My Europe's essay competition in Sweden.

The task was to write a futuristic piece about Europe in the 2030s. 

The winners were chosen by a jury of ”My Europe“ and Svenska Dagbladet. 

Researchers have been working over the past year investigating if the investment in the EIGE has paid off and today, the eighth of December 2030, they were finally able to announce the news.

“It has not been an easy journey, we have worked hard to achieve this goal and I believe I speak for all of us when I say that I am proud to be a citizen of the European Union today“, the head of the EIGE said at the press conference held at the EIGE headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.

EIGE was founded in 2015 after a request from the Youth Council for the Future, a council of young European students that works as an advocacy group of Europe’s youths. It was a very topical subject at the time. The Swedes had one year earlier voted a feminist party called Feministiskt Intiativ (FI) into the European Parliament, becoming the first of its kind. Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize for her battle for girls‘ rights to education in Pakistan, and famous people all around the world claimed to be feminists.

Women in Europe had more freedoms than ever. They were politicians, entrepreneurs and innovators. Therefore, some people found EIGE unnecessary and a waste of EU finances. Others even more critical claimed that the founding of EIGE was a way for extreme feminists to force boys and girls to behave like the opposite sex. At the press conference, the head of EIGE explains: “The institution was not founded to force men and women to exchange their gender roles, but to break down the stereotypes about the different genders. Our goal was to give girls and boys the chance to grow up and make their own choices in life, without being affected about how society expects them to be".

The head of the EIGE also declares that even though the EU countries were far more equal than the rest of the world, there were still some issues that had to be taken care of. The problems included that women in general did not make as much money as their male colleagues, and that only 30 % of the members of the European Parliament were female. In Sweden, a country that was considered one of the most equal countries in the world had not been ruled by a female prime minister. The head of the EIGE also tells us that some countries did not allow women to terminate pregnancy.

“There were still some countries that did not allow women to decide over their own bodies, forcing them to go through pregnancy and give birth even though they did not want to. This was often due to the religious influence that permeated society. We shall certainly respect people’s beliefs, but that means also that people who do not share their faith shall be respected to. It is not the government that should make that kind of decisions.

To reach the goal, it has been a demanding process for the employed at the EIGE. The institution has developed education programs for different occasions. The programs include some made for kindergarten and education. School teachers can take part in them to become more aware of how boys and girls are brought up differently. The programs have been very successful, surveys collected from high school students shows that they experience equal treatment despite their genders.

Another method that has been used is to develop a certificate for companies that act efficient when it comes to gender equality. Companies can now be gender equality certified. It gives the costumers the chance to choose a company that is guaranteed to actively work against gender stereotypes. To get certified the company has to fulfil criteria that includes equal pay for equal work, gender balance in leadership positions, abandon of sexist advertising and education of the employees about gender roles. The reception has been positive from both the companies and its customers, and every single company on the European market has now been certified.

The press conference is about to finish and the head of the EIGE ends with declaring that the institution has been able to keep up the good work owing to the conviction that everyone should have the same opportunities in life regardless their gender.

“At the EIGE, we have from the beginning asked the question: Why should people only be allowed to participate in a limited part of life when life can offer you so much more?“