Despite hundreds of thousands around the world taking part in marches and demonstrations demanding gender equality in the wake of International Women’s Day, here’s a summary of inequalities that still demand attention:
Gender Equality in Europe
Data from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) shows that out of a possible 100, the average gender equality index for European Union member states was 67.4 points in 2019.
Last week, the European Commission presented its Gender Equality Strategy, aiming to provide a fresh impetus to achieving gender equality by:
- providing targeted measures that will address some of the biggest challenges;
- considering gender equality early in policy design by improving the integration of a gender dimension in all major Commission initiatives during its mandate.
Women in Science
Women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are published less, paid less for their research and do not advance as far as men in their careers, according to UNESCO figures.
During British Science Week (6-15th March), the UK government unveiled a package of support to help inventions by women and young people. £500,000 will be provided to pioneering female entrepreneurs to develop innovations such as those to tackle climate change, developing new treatments and services for healthcare patients, and cleaner transport.
Domestic Abuse Bill: who is left behind?
An enhanced version of the Domestic Abuse Bill begun making its way through Parliament last week. The government has described the bill as “the most comprehensive package ever” to tackle domestic abuse, but some have called out the bill as failing to address the needs of all vulnerable groups:
Migrant and BAME women
The Step Up Migrant Women coalition, comprising more than 40 BAME specialist frontline services and migrant and human rights organisations, expressed concerns to the Guardian that abused women with insecure immigration status often don’t seek help from the police out of fear of being reported or detained.
A press release by the Step Up Migrant Women coalition, states that “the Bill does nothing to ensure migrant women who have experienced domestic abuse will have their safety put first”.
According to children’s charity leaders, the legislation does not go far enough to protect and support vulnerable children affected by the issue. Referring to mental health trauma that can be experienced as a result of witnessing domestic abuse, Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, labelled children as the “hidden victims of domestic abuse”. The director of policy and campaigns for Action for Children, Imran Hussain, highlighted the vital need for this Bill to recognise children as victims, as opposed to witnesses.
EU Climate targets
The European Commission unveiled plans for a climate law, which aims to make the 27-country bloc climate neutral by 2050. Proposals include a mechanism for regularly raising the EU’s emissions reduction target over the next three decades.
The lack of plans to increase the bloc’s emissions goal for 2030 attracted criticism from youth climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, who attended discussions with EU commissioners last week. In an open letter, Thunberg said “Net zero emissions by 2050’ for the EU equals surrender. It means giving up.”
Swimming in all 15 UK National Parks
Following the discovery of micro-plastics at the top of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, a scientific expedition has been launched to investigate plastic pollution in all the UK’s National Parks.
The expedition will see campaigner Laura Sanderson swim nearly 1,000 km to collect hundreds of water samples, which will be analysed at Bangor University in North Wales. Data collected from this expedition will be essential to tackling the problem of micro-plastic in waterways.
Onshore wind farms return
The UK government has reversed its decision to effectively ban onshore wind, solar and energy storage following calls for a review to its renewables policy framework in light of the net-zero target for 2050.
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