Feminist Europe

Make Europe care for Care! Towards a fairer, care-focused Europe

Only a few handclaps in peak times of the COVID-19 pandemic will not suffice! Women bear the lion’s share of paid and unpaid care work and they deserve a fair recognition thereof. And that is precisely where this year-round joint project of FES and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) comes in with a series of analyses, events and concrete policy recommendations.

When will Europe give care work priority?

Welcome to 2030, where we live in a Feminist Europe! Here, all people have equal rights and opportunities, regardless of their gender. Women and men get paid equally for work of equal value. They share chores and care duties at home, and they can access high quality care at affordable rates. No one talks of gender quotas in political leadership anymore as women and men are represented equally in political offices, corporate boardrooms and factory floors. Women have equal say in decisions that affect their lives, their bodies, their policies, and their environment. Girls are as valued as boys are, and people of all genders and sexuality feel safe and equal.

Isn’t that fabulous? Do you, back in 2020, wonder how this seemingly unachievable paradigm shift became even possible? The answer is quite simple: Finally, Europe cares for care! The European Union confers care a high value and a prominent place in our economy and society at large. The EU ensures everyone has access to high-quality and affordable care services and made women in all their diversity count in public policy. In short, our economic system is based on gender equality, diversity, wellbeing, solidarity and justice. 

Unfortunately, this kind of Europe exists at present only in our imaginations. To date, no single country has achieved gender equality. But it’s a place that we can all aspire to build. Care policies, as diverse as they may be, have not succeeded to unlock the true value care work at the heart of our socio-economic life. However, we can all strive to build such a Europe.

A feminist vision for Europe

Therefore, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) embarked on this journey to find out how we can finally achieve a truly feminist Europe. An EU-wide pool of care experts lies at the core of this joint #Care4Care project. Building on this network together with FES offices and FEPS member foundations across the EU and beyond, we endeavour to monitor the EU Gender Equality Strategy and related EU policy developments through a progressive lens focusing particularly on its care dimensions.

In order to foster a critical understanding of the European and the different national perspectives of care work as well as the challenges it poses to gender equality, we launched our #Care4Care Roadshow to discuss these issues with our care experts from all over the continent. Various events and studies will therefore be devoted to look at various angles of care and across several countries. such as the intersections between care and migration, (un)paid work, demographic ageing, self-care, and so on. The insights gained shall then feed into concrete policy recommendations for national politics and the implementation of the EU Gender Equality Strategy. Our goal is to shape a Europe where care is provided not only in a socially fair but also – after the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic – in a resilient manner.

EU Care Atlas

Care work – or rather the unequal distribution and lacking acknowledgement of paid and unpaid care work – directly feeds into the EU Gender Earning Gap, which is currently estimated at 36,7%. Browse through our Care Atlas to learn more about the three dimensions of the Gender Earning Gap, namely the Gender Pay Gap, the Gender Employment Gap, and the Gender Hours Gap, and learn more about the unequal distribution of time spend on paid and unpaid work by men and women in EU member states.

Agnes Mach

FES EU Office

+32 (0)2 234 62 94

Laeticia Thissen

Foundation of European Progressive Studies

+32 (0)2 234 69 06

The project is a collaboration with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS)


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