MEP Maria Walsh has called on EU Member States and the EU Commission to support entrepreneurship among women as the gender employment gap stands at 11.4%.

A new European report reveals that the gender pay gap stands at 14% while the gender pension gap is unacceptably high at 30%.

Commenting on the findings in the European Semester for economic policy coordination: Employment and Social Aspects in the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021 report, Maria is also calling on the EU Member States to unblock the negotiations on the Women on Boards Directive in the Council.

MEP Walsh said; “One of the very first benefits of Ireland joining the European Union in 1973 was the abolishment of a law restricting the employment of married women.

“48 years later, we are still struggling to address the issue of gender gaps in our labour market. Today the gender pay gap stands at 14% and the gender pension gap at 30%.

“Successive lockdowns have widened the existing gender divide in unpaid care work that was already keeping more women than men out of the labour market.

“Many women in Ireland and all over Europe have no choice but to step back from paid work to care for and educate family members during this pandemic. 

“There has never been a more important time to address the barriers to women’s full and equal participation in the workplace and to reduce the long-term impacts Covid is having on women’s employment, pay and career advancement.”

The report also highlighted that closing the gender employment gap is a social and economic imperative, due to the implications for women’s lives, including their financial security and quality of life, and its persisting economic costs, which amounted to around EUR 320 billion in 2018 (2.4 % of EU GDP).

Maria, an MEP for the Midlands-North-West constituency, said she supports the call for gender equality to be strengthened through the integration of gender mainstreaming, and for the Commission to accelerate the introduction of an effective, transparent, comprehensive, result-oriented and performance-based methodology for all EU programmes.