International Platform for Equal Opportunities (IPEO)


What are the aims of the platform?

In the economic crisis women have a tough time in the labour market. That is why the International Platform for Equal Opportunities pursues the aim of increasing the employment rate of women in the labour market as one of the principles of social justice, and enabling mothers and fathers to combine family life and work through flexicurity.

How does the platform work?

On the ground the platform has a small group of specialists comprising five women and one man who meet three or four times a year to set out the issue and objectives for the year. As the members of this group of specialists are already engaged in their professional life with the issue of equal opportunities, this in turn has a positive influence on the entire progress of the platform.

The international platform meets once a year in Bressanone (South Tyrol/Italy). These meetings are trilingual, with the languages being German, Italian and English. Those attending are at the same time speakers, and so there is a lively exchange of ideas, experiences, stimuli, etc.

Who does what in the IPEO?

The IPEO was set up by EZA in 2003. The current members are workers’ organisations from Italy, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. The platform wants to gradually extend the group of members to other countries.

In 2012 it addressed the issue of “How can the creation of equal opportunities for women in the labour market be accelerated?”. In 2013 it examined “The role of workers’ organisations in achieving a higher employment rate among women” and in September 2014 it  tackles the issue of “Job and life situations of women over 50”.

Who does the platform seek to reach with its work?

With its work the platform aims to raise awareness of certain issues like the compatibility of family life and work, equal opportunities in work and pay, glass ceilings, inflexible models of work, difficulties and disadvantages in returning to work. Further challenges include the sharing of family responsibility, improving the perception of upbringing and care tasks by fathers, the unilateral promotion of the dual role of women, access to bonuses to keep women at home in times of crisis, the continuation of barriers to equality, etc. These are also important issues in the field of the social partnership and the social dialogue.

Who can join in and how can people join in?

The platform can still be extended, preferably to experts from countries not represented on the platform at present.

Anyone from workers’ organisations interested in joining the platform and contributing professional or voluntary experience relating to equal opportunities is welcome to approach Heidi Rabensteiner.

Contact person:

Heidi Rabensteiner (Arbeiter-, Freizeit- und Bildungsverein AFB)



EZA Educational Programme 2019

Campaign "Healthy Workplaces: Manage dangerous substances"

German Works Councils Day 2019 in Bonn