Gender Equality Task Force for Lifelong Learning

The European Association for Regional and Local Authorities for Lifelong Learning (EARLALL), the European Forum for Vocational Education and Training (EfVET) and the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) are jointly setting up a dynamic Task Force that aims to support gender-balanced participation in lifelong learning and to ensure equal access and rights for everyone. The President of the European Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen, has made gender equality a priority of her mandate since her appointment speech, in July 2019, entitled ‘A Europe that strives for more’. In line with this priority, this Task Force advocates for equal and balanced lifelong learning educational opportunities for all – not only to help ensure successful integration into the labour market, but also to challenge the existing gender stereotypes – which can only be achieved through the incorporation of a gender perspective into all EU policies.

An initiative promoted by

Why a Task Force?

Acknowledging that adult participation in training is essential to improve overall employability and to address the skills gap in the European labour market, the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan (EPSR) has indicated that 60% of adults should participate in training every year by 2030. While the EPSR indicates a universal goal to achieve, the upskilling of EU citizens requires a gender-sensitive approach in line with the current inequalities in employment, training and education.

As it stands:

  • There is an inequality in the EU in the number of working citizens, with the rate of working men in 2019 (79.0%) being 11.7% higher than that of women (67.3%)[1]
  •  There is a gender inequality in enrolments in general education programmes, with female upper secondary students more likely to enrol than men[2]
  • There is an inequality in the share of early leavers from education and training in the EU, with dropout rates higher among young men (11.4 %) than among young women (7.9 %)[3]
  • There is an inequality in the number of enrolments of men and women in vocational programmes, following upper secondary VET, with women (41.6%) less likely to enrol than men (54.9%)[4]
  • Gender segregation in tertiary and VET depends on the subject of education and training. In most EU countries for example, women dominate among education, health and work graduates, while they only constitute 13% of graduates in STEM VET[5]
  • According to a number of studies, women participate in adult education in Europe, especially informal provisions, at a higher rate than men[6]

With the inequalities painted above in the labour, education and training opportunities of EU citizens according to their gender, EARLALL, EfVET and EAEA have launched this Gender Task Force. This group aims to gather interested members from the three organisations to launch a series of initiatives that encourage discussion on EU policies and strategies related to gender equality in lifelong learning. The Force will share best practices in dedicated roundtables, seminars and other events, to open a dialogue around gender inequalities with relevant stakeholders, and to translate the discussions into actionable items where possible.

What are the goals of the Task Force?

This group aims to gather interested members from the three organisations to launch a series of initiatives that encourage discussion on EU policies and strategies related to gender equality in lifelong learning. The Force will share best practices in dedicated roundtables, seminars and other events, to open a  dialogue around gender inequalities with relevant stakeholders, and to translate the discussions into actionable items where possible.

Activities

Welcome Meeting | January 2023

On 24 January 2023, the European Association for Regional and Local Authorities for Lifelong Learning (EARLALL), the European Forum for Vocational Education and Training (EfVET) and the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) jointly launched the work of dynamic Gender Equality Task Force. 

The first informal meeting was chaired by Ms Sylvia Liuti, a Gender Equality expert at FORMA.Azione (EfVET Italy), gathering over 25 participants such as public and regional authorities, representatives from European Institutions, education and training providers, and gender in education experts, among others.

Guidance and Gender Equality meeting | March 2023

The second informal meeting formally presented Ms Sylvia Liuti, a Gender Equality expert at FORMA.Azione (EfVET Italy), as the Gender Equality Task Force’s honorary member. She will rely on her research and professional experience in addressing gender stereotypes in VET to help the Task Force to achieve its aim to prevent discrimination in the labour market.

Ms Liuti highlighted that “Gender stereotypes are learnt early in life, but career guidance and active employment service practitioners play a key role in shaping the process of supporting people in building their pathway to who they will be in the future”. In this light, Ms Liuti highlighted that it is important to strengthen the Gender Equality skills and competences of practitioners acting in transition phases of the education-training- labour market chain.

Micro-credentials as a regional ALE strategy: ensuring gender-equality in the green transition? | October 2023

As part of the Committee of the European Regions’ Week of Cities and Regions 2023, EARLALL, EfVET and EAEA (as part of the Gender Task Force Initiative) hosted a session on microcredentials and their capacity to address gender-based issues. Women are underrepresented in the green sector and often lack the relevant skills profiles to tackle the green transition in the labour market. Regions and local authorities are vital in addressing this challenge. Read more here

Contact Us

The purpose of the Gender Equality Taskforce for lifelong learning is to explore questions of gender equality in learning, training, education and employment. If you would like to participate in an event, be part of the mailing lists or present your topic, please do not hesitate to contact us at: gendertforce@gmail.com

Reports and Downloads

EWRC-Gender-Event-Report

    [1] European Commission (2019)

    [2] Eurostat (2022)

    [3] Eurostat (2022)

    [4] Eurostat (2021)

    [5] EIGE (2018)

    [6] EAEA (2020)