Combatting Gender Stereotypes

9th July 2023

Posted In: The Topic

In the EU, gender stereotypes are still widely prevalent. Four in ten people in the EU think that the most important role of a woman is to take care of her home and family.

In order to rethink perspectives and open a discussion on gender stereotypes, the European Commission has recently launched an EU-wide social media campaign tackling gender stereotypes across the EU and in Ireland.

The campaign with the hashtag #EndGenderStereotypes, aims to raise awareness of the harmful effects of gender stereotypes on both women and men, limiting everybody’s choices and opportunities.

By challenging clichés, the campaign seeks to promote gender equality and create a more inclusive and free society for everyone.

The campaign images aim to encourage the public to reflect on whether the portrayed situations are uncommon, unusual or surprising.

















Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality (pictured), said:

“Gender stereotypes are still prevalent in European societies. They are not just a matter of personal opinion as they have real world impact on women and men.

“Expectations around what a girl should and shouldn’t study, what kind of job a man should take up or which roles are suitable for women in private and public life also have negative implications on the labour market and on society overall, leading to persistent economic inequalities between women and men.

“Gender stereotypes must therefore be combatted as they constrain personal choices and freedoms.

“I hope that our campaign will foster a reflection on gender stereotypes and help improve behavioural patterns. Meanwhile, I invite all Europeans to join our efforts to end gender stereotypes across our Union.”

Limiting Opportunities

Gender stereotypes continue to limit opportunities in the workplace and impact the quality of life at home.

Despite making up half of the European population and surpassing men in university graduation across various fields, women continue to be underrepresented in the workforce.

This lack of diversity is particularly apparent in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) sectors and leadership positions. According to Eurostat, nearly seven in ten women in the EU were engaged in full-time employment, in contrast to nearly eight in ten men. Two in ten graduates in information and communications technology (ICT) are women, while less than one in ten CEOs in large listed companies in the EU are female.

The unequal distribution of unpaid care and household work puts a disproportionate burden on women, even when employed full-time.

Consequently, many women find themselves compelled to choose part-time employment or compromise their career aspirations. At the same time, men frequently encounter challenges stemming from gender stereotypes. For example,

unjustified social expectations and stereotypes can make it difficult for men to take parental leave, even when they wish to do so.

Stereotypes and Gender Equality in Ireland

Ireland ranks 7th in the EU on the Gender Equality Index, with a score of 74.3 out of 100, which is 5.7 points above the EU average.

Since 2010, Ireland’s score has increased by 8.9 points, mainly due to significant improvements in the domain of power (+24.5 points). The country’s speed of progress has been above the EU average of 5.5 points, resulting in an increase in ranking by one spot.

Yet a Eurobarometer survey shows the prevalence of some gender stereotypes in Ireland, with seven in ten Irish respondents agreeing with the statement women are more likely than men to make decisions based on their emotions. Meanwhile, half of those questioned suggested that a woman’s most important role is to take care of the home and family.

Get Involved

This campaign is part of the implementation of the European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 and this month sees the campaign rolled out across EU Member States.

The Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 aims to create a Union where women and men, in all their diversity, can pursue their chosen paths in life, free from gender-based violence and stereotypes. Furthermore, the strategy seeks to provide equal opportunities for everyone to thrive and participate in leadership roles in the European society.