In the run-up to Lithuania’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with representatives of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) of the European Parliament (EP). The meeting focused on human rights in the EU and Lithuania. The interlocutors also discussed key initiatives and prospective work in this sphere during Lithuanian presidency.
According to the President, gender equality is an important value of the European Union and one of the fundamental human rights. Lithuania ranks 34th globally for gender equality.
“Equality of men and women is one of the underlying priorities for the European Union which will feature prominently on Lithuanian presidency agenda. It is important to ensure that both men and women can enjoy equal opportunities. The more competent men and women enter the labor market, the greater the benefit to the economy,” the President said.
The main focus during Lithuanian presidency will be on national experience of the EU member states in implementing the gender equality principle – on the methods and technologies applied in these countries to give effect to this principle.
The Lithuania-based European Institute for Gender Equality plans to evaluate the situation in the institutions of all member states and elaborate a study; on its basis to draft in December the Council’s conclusions reviewing the state of play and proposing actions to enhance the effectiveness of ensuring gender equality. The study will be presented at the high-level conference on gender equality issues to be held in Vilnius.
The Lithuanian presidency will also seek endorsement of the so-called directive on gender quotas. The purpose of this directive is to ensure the equality of men and women in decision-making process. The directive also highlights the need to use properly the capacities and competences of both men and women in seeking the goals of the EU policy.
Education is the cornerstone of equal opportunities. Good access to education gives more opportunities for professional careers and competition to both men and women.
It is also necessary to bridge the gap in terms of salaries for men and women in Lithuania and the whole of Europe, as it makes a negative effect on the economy.