Gender inequality remains a major barrier to human development. Girls and women have made major strides since 1990, but they have not yet gained gender equity. The disadvantages facing women and girls are a major source of inequality. All too often, women and girls are discriminated against in health, education, political representation, labour market, etc — with negative repercussions for development of their capabilities and their freedom of choice.

Women remain less likely to participate in labour market. Despite an encouraging trend towards gender equality in employment at EU level, the gender gap in employment rates still persists. Given the fact that more women than men work on a part-time basis, gender gaps in employment may in fact be underestimated, without resorting to comparisons in full-time equivalence. Full-time equivalent employment rates show that gender gaps in employment are even wider. Women continue to be less likely to participate in the labour force, throughout all EU Member States, they are working fewer hours when they do so, and spend fewer years overall in work than men. These trends show that women are at higher risk of economic dependence in terms of income, responsibility and power. However, it is important to note, that developments in employment and unemployment during the last four years of recession provide evidence of a downward leveling of gender gaps through greater employment losses and higher unemployment expansions among men.

Incentives to increase women’s participation in the labour market have been increasingly supported by ensuring that gender gaps in family-related entitlements, such as parental or carer’s leave or measures to support greater work-life balance, are being addressed.

Gender inequality also impacts on health, as we see in this video.  Health is directly linked not only to economic independence, but also to dignity and physical integrity. Low gender gaps exist in access to health structures