The Deputy Ombudsperson and Chair of the European Equality Network (Equinet), Tena Šimonović Einwalter, opened a Tallin Equinet seminar on breaking the ‘glass ceiling’ and gender equality on 13 November 2017. On that occasion, she pointed out that “it is not just a matter of breaking the glass ceiling, but of its walls and foundations”.


This Equinet seminar aimed to provide an introduction to the reasons behind women’s lack of career progress compared to their male peers, as well as to discuss the consequences of this gender gap on the labour market. To assist those seeking to promote gender equality in career progress, arguments supporting the utility of equal opportunities in career progress were discussed, as well as good practice examples where the inequality experienced by women throughout the course of their working lives has been effectively addressed. The legal perspective was addressed by looking at tools that can be used to address discrimination women may face in access to promotions and career progress.

Equinet and equality bodies have had a strong focus on the discrimination women face on the labour market, including issues around harassment and sexual harassment, equal pay, and work-life balance. There are a number of factors contributing to the discrimination women face in seeking access to career progress on an equal footing with their male peers. European level action has focused on work-life balance and women in decision-making, including women on boards. The Equinet Working Group on Gender Equality has highlighted the matter of career progress as an emerging area where legal and policy action are challenging.

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