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The gender pay gap in the EU and the European Pillar of #SocialRights
1. The gender pay gap in the EU is 16.2%, that’s 16.2% higher than it should be! Gender equality is the second key principle of the European Pillar of #SocialRights for a reason 2. The European Pillar of #SocialRights supports the right to equal treatment and opportunities regarding employment, social protection, education, and access to goods and services available to the public. Something NCW Malta has supported since its creation!
Gender Equality in the Media Sector
This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. It examines key elements of the European policy agenda pertaining to gender equality in the media sector. It also reviews existing research on women's representation within media content and the media workforce. The study provides analysis of actions to promote gender equality in the media at both EU and Member State levels. Finally, it presents case studies of gender equality in the media sector in four Member States: Austria, Malta, Sweden, and the UK.
Empowering women and girls in media and ICT
On the occasion of the International Women's Day, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is holding an inter-parliamentary committee meeting on empowering women and girls in media and ICT. The meeting, which will bring together EU institutional representatives, members of EU national parliaments, experts and stakeholders, will take place on 08 March 2018. The presentation and debates will deal with the topics of women shaping media, empowering women and girls through digital inclusion and women’s movements and advancing equality in the digital age.
Digital healthcare / health insurance
In the view of the EESC, given the digital revolution in the field of health, it is vital to maintain and promote a health insurance system which serves the needs of everyone, and is solidarity-based, inclusive and non-discriminatory. Inclusion and fair access for all to good quality health services (digital or otherwise) and commitment to these are in fact prerequisites for universal health coverage.
Gender equality in European labour markets
In order to improve gender equality in labour markets, the EESC considers it necessary to draw up an integrated and ambitious European strategy to tackle systemic and structural obstacles and lead to adequate policies, measures and EU funding programmes for improving equality between women and men, thus fostering "more equal economic independence of women and men" . This would also contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Services to the family
Developing services in private homes in order to achieve a better work-life balance Every family has a home and clothes to maintain, meals to prepare, children to care for, elderly parents or ill or disabled family members who need help. Women often have to work part-time in order to carry out these tasks, missing out on the career for which they have trained or on time they would use for training.
Women and girls digital gender gap
This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, attempts to reveal the links between the different factors (access, skills, socio-economic and cultural), which prevent women from having equal access to digital technology. It then suggests ways of dealing with online and offline inequalities to the effect of closing the digital gender gap and improving women’s and girls’ digital inclusion and future technology-related career paths.
Plastics, human health and environmental impacts: The road ahead
Plastics have been with us for more than a century, and by now they’re everywhere, for good and for ill. Plastic containers and coatings help keep food fresh, but they can also leave behind neurotoxins such as BPA in the human body. PVC is used for everything from pipes and flooring to furniture and clothes, but it contains compounds called phthalates that have been implicated in male reproductive disorders. Studies have also shown that childhood exposure to environmental pollutants can have significant negative effects later in life, including reduced labor force participation and even earnings.
European Commission aims to significantly reduce the gender pay gap
The European Commission plans to use a series of measures aimed at significantly reducing the pay gap between men and women over the next five years. The average gender pay gap in the EU currently stands at 18%. To lower this rate, the Commission plans to raise awareness among employers, encourage initiatives to promote gender equality and support the development of tools to measure the gender pay gap.
NCW Annual General Meeting 2019
NCW Annual General Meeting 2019 The Annual General Meeting of the National Council of Women was held on Saturday 26th January 2019, at The Victoria Hotel, Sliema. President Mary Gaerty spoke about the work which the Council has embarked on during 2018. This included pensions, education, violence against women, work and entrepreneurship, work life balance and the challenges faced by women on a daily basis. She also highlighted the fact that the National Council of Women is looking ahead at the constant changes
Work-life Balance
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The National Council of Women supports the Act to provide protection for human embryos
NCW has always advocated for legislation of alternative IVF treatment not least because of the sensitivity and the consequences for both parents and society if it had to remain unregulated. NCW believes that IVF treatment should be for heterosexuals within a stable family environment The Council has always supported the protection of embryos as the first cell of a human life and, with the development of alternative treatment over the past years this has become possible successfully.
Women on Boards: Vice-President Viviane Reding meets with leaders of Europe's business schools and i
Today, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding met with European Industry Associations, European Business Schools and Senior Executive Women to discuss progress being made on improving the gender balance in company boardrooms.
UfM adopts new project to support women’s empowerment in the Mediterranean
A project aimed at developing women’s empowerment in the Mediterranean through the development of effective field projects and the setting up of networks and platforms, was adopted by Senior Officials of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) at a meeting held last month.

 

CONFERENCE ON 50 YEARS OF EU GENDER EQUALITY LAW (Date: 27/12/2007)

Report 29.11.2007

GRACE ATTARD, EESC MEMBER GROUP III

CONFERENCE ON 50 YEARS OF EU GENDER EQUALITY LAW

EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs
And Equal Opportunities
25-26 October 2007
Venue:
Charlemagne, Gasperi Room
Rue de la Loi

OPENING SESSION
Welcome speeches

First Speaker

Mr Vladimir Spidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs
and Equal Opportunities

Commissioner Spidla introduced his speech by stating that equality needs to be anchored in all member states in all areas. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has served to bring legal aspects within the reach of European citizens. Equality legislation, particularly directives on equal pay and access to employment and social security have served to improve equality between men and women. However, the persistent gender pay gap still needs to be addressed. Reducing the pay gap is one of the objectives of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs

Areas that need to be given priority are:
Addressing issues concerning pregnant§ women and women who have just given birth
Encouraging paternity leave§
§ The burden of proof in situations of sexual harassment at the workplace
§ Equal access to goods and services
Positive action§

Addressing these issues is necessary to provide a solid and coherent positive impact on everyday life through Community Law. There is the need to ensure that current laws are properly applied by all concerned: judges, lawyers, citizens, associations and social partners. Knowledge needs to be spread as wide as possible, in particular to new legislators. There is also the need to simplify a, recast and complete legal provisions following the 2006 recasting of directives on employment

Commissioner Spidla referred to the Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men 2006-2010. All European partners were involved and have committed themselves to gender equality in particular to reconciliation between professional and private life. The ‘50 years European Union Project’ anniversary celebrations are a unique opportunity to take stock of what has been done regarding gender equality and equal opportunities and to identify and address the challenges of the future in the contexts of globalization and demographic change.

Second Speaker

Ms Ziti Gurmai, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Equal Opportunities

Ms Gurmai traced equality legislation since 1957 – Treaty of Rome establishing equality in all policy areas and in Community Law to ensure that the principle of equality is backed by strong legislation. She also referred to the Roadmap for Equality 2006-2010 and the Gender Pact, highlighting the importance of addressing reconciliation between work and family life
There is the need to revise gender equality in the context of the Lisbon Strategy which should be reflected in the Lisbon Declaration (2007). She also gave latest statistics regarding women in employment in Europe and highlighted current and future challenges:
• Demographic change
• Making Europe more competitive

Issues that should be given priority are
• The gender pay gap
• Increasing the number of women in deism-making. In particular in the economy
• Reconciliation between work and family life
• Childcare facilities- parents – fathers and mothers need to have choices regarding the provision of quality and affordable childcare
• The role of employers in providing childcare as a sound investment but this should not be regarded only from the financial point of view
• Structural and regional funds should be made use of for more and better childcare facilities and lifelong learning respectively
• More campaigns are needed to create awareness of the gender pay gap and to address inequalities

Third Speaker

The representative of the Secretary of State of Portugal traced the development of soft legislation in employment, highlighting the directive on access to goods and services. He also spoke about the need to strengthen measures to support victims of discrimination in the workplace, in particular the role of the social partners in addresingthis issue.

Reference was made to the July 2007 Conference in Lisbon on Growth and Employment. Emphasis was made on the need to exchange good practices. There is an urgent need for men to be on an equal footing with women in family life. The European Year of Equal Opportunities for All 2007 and its follow-up should work to create a Europe with Equal Opportunities for All


Short Film: Voices from Europe: Examples of application of legislation regarding equal pay

Session 1

Europe’s Achievements in gender equality law
Chairperson Mr. Michele Petite, Director General Legal Service European Commission

Opening remarks

This session explained the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and its work throughout the years in interpreting the law and its application

First speaker:

Mr. Anindrias O Caoimh, Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Communities

The speaker stated that ECJ doesn’t decide which cases come before it. Its role is to interpret and apply the law. He also traced the developments in legislation resulting from Case Law over the years
The speaker highlighted a number of achievements of the ECJ namely the application of affirmative (positive) action in addressing equality issues on the basis of:
• Criteria not to discriminate against female candidates, that is not seeking a male norm
• Maternity leave not to be judged as a financial loss
• Stereotyping
The Case Law alone cannot address all the problems; however it can clarify community law to ensure full effect of Community directives

Second Speaker:

Ms Catherine A. MacKinnon, Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

The speaker spoke about two leading approaches on which Europe and US, Canada and South Africa base legislation on discrimination
Europe: Aristotle philosophy, while across the Atlantic legislation is based on transforming hierarchies of historically disadvantaged groups

Third speaker:

Ms Sacha Prechal, Professor of European Law, Utrecht Law School/Europe Institute, Utrecht University

The speaker spoke about the obligations of Private Employers, referring to two current cases – Employers versus Trade Unions, the following aspects should be given priority
The need for effective judicial protection against discrimination
Sanctions that are effective and proportionate and dissuasive
Obligation to interpret the law in conformity with directives
Setting appropriate time limits in submitting cases for investigation
The role of the vigilant ombudsman/woman

Session II

Access to employment and equal pay

Chairperson: Ms Belinda Pyke, Director Equality between Women and Men, Action against discrimination, Directorate General, Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, European Commission

Opening remarks:
Reference was made to the French model: economic integration and the German model: social and economic integration

First Speaker:

Ms Dagmar Schiek, Professor Cahir in European New, University of Leeds
The speaker spoke about Article 3 - the gender mainstreaming clause:
• There is the need for strong initiatives in collective agreements on retirement age discrimination
• Implementation of gender mainstreaming needs to be more effective
• She also highlighted the importance of job classification schemes that should exclude any discrimination based on sex, which is very often difficult to identify. The recast directives do not include the pay gap directive and this should be addressed
• The ECJ is reluctant in assessing job classification schemes

Equal Treatment Directives: 2002/73 EC and 2007/76 EEC so far take a very narrow approach to positive action although it addresses victimization
2002 Case Law addresses:
• indirect discrimination
• effective judial protection
• maternity protection
• burden of proof

Measures to put equal treatment into effect:
• Structural approach
• Proactive polices
• Completing Community Framework

Second Speaker:

Ms Jill Rubery, Professor of Comparative Employment systems, University of Manchester and Co-director of the European Work and Employment Research Centre (EWERC)
The speaker spoke about the economic impact of the gender pay gap. Measures to address this issue include:
• Encouraging women to invest in education
• Childcare facilitates
• The role of men
• Economic independence
• Discrimination unemployment
• Statistical discrimination
• Studying cases at individual level

She also spoke about the power of employers in relation to issues regarding raising minimum wages and wages at lower levels. Home production is considered an advantage for women as they have specialized in it, however equality in the labour market is necessary to make up for the lack of equality in sharing of home work The choice is not between home and work but between nor family of work

In speaking about the gender pay gap, the speaker highlighted the following aspects;
• Segregation
• Discrimination
• Women’s unequal burden

Women’s work is undervalued resulting in risks of:
• Being paid less
• Employed in occupations that are in themselves undervalued
• Increases undervaluing women’s work is emerging in the increase of outsourcing,
• part-time work,
• new division of labour and
• individual contracts

There is the need of integration in job classification systems and not fragmentation
Proposals:
• Developing collective bargaining
• Promoting women’s skills to make them more visible (accreditation)
• Transparency of rewards
• Ending the long hour sculture
• Employers to promote incentives for female employees
• Comparison across business organizations

Other points raised:
• Paid leave so that women do not need to depend on men’s leave
• Jobs to be gender mainstreamed
• Reconciliation between work and family life is not be the basis of the gender pay gap
• Promoting part-time work is resulting in less pensions entitlement
• Skills shortages can be linked to underutilized women and not necessarily to migrants
• The need for a change of culture for employers, especially where there are no social partners to address discrimination issues
• The EU More and Better Jobs strategy should include women’s participation in the labour market and emphasis should be on the quality of the jobs

Third speaker:

Mr. Bengt Axelsson, Brigadier General, Swedish Defence Force
The speaker gave an explanation of an initiative he took in addressing gender discrimination in the Armed Forces
It takes will and good leadership ‘It takes a hard guy to deal with a soft question’

Fourth speaker:

Ms Daniel Banker, Head of Unit: Equality, Action Against Discrimination, Legal questions, Directorate General, Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, European Commission
The speaker linked development of equality legislation with the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Employment. She emphasized the obligations of member states in adopting positive measures to eliminate discrimination.
Job classification schemes need to include effective measures to ensure the elimination of discrimination.
Member states are obliged to promote equality and to encourage social partners to adopt equality measures.
Member states are obliged to ensure equal pay is implemented and not just to ensure that social partners take the responsibility
ECJ has wide case law on cases of ‘equal work’ and indirect discrimination in part-time work which should be consulted

Other points raised

Are we well equipped to combat discrimination with the current legal instruments?
Addressing indirect discrimination is not easy; it is disguised and usually addresses groups of employees and not individuals. This makes it more difficult to establish and victims might not be aware of discrimination
We need to study closely current criteria of job classifications – their explicit, implicit implications, progression of work in the context of time, availability, home responsibilities
We need to ensure transparency in job classification systems.
There is the need for positive action to tackle labour market segregation
Close monitoring and evaluation
In studying job classification criteria focus should be on:
• part-time work,
• new work organization,
• access to education and vocational training
• IT training
• A closer study of the working time Directive is necessary to ensure non-discrimination

Report 29.11.2007GRACE ATTARD, EESC MEMBER GROUP IIICONFERENCE ON 50 YEARS OF EU GENDER EQUALITY LAWEUROPEAN COMMISSIONDirectorate General Employment, Social AffairsAnd Equal Opportunities25-26 October 2007Venue: Charlemagne, Gasperi RoomRue de la LoiOPENING SESSIONWelcome speechesFirst SpeakerMr Vladimir Spidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairsand Equal OpportunitiesCommissioner Spidla introduced his speech by stating that equality needs to be anchored in all member states in all areas. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has served to bring legal aspects within the reach of European citizens. Equality legislation, particularly directives on equal pay and access to employment and social security have served to improve equality between men and women. However, the persistent gender pay gap still needs to be addressed. Reducing the pay gap is one of the objectives of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs Areas that need to be given priority are:Addressing issues concerning pregnant women and women who have just given birthEncouraging paternity leave The burden of proof in situations of sexual harassment at the workplace Equal access to goods and servicesPositive actionAddressing these issues is necessary to provide a solid and coherent positive impact on everyday life through Community Law. There is the need to ensure that current laws are properly applied by all concerned: judges, lawyers, citizens, associations and social partners. Knowledge needs to be spread as wide as possible, in particular to new legislators. There is also the need to simplify a, recast and complete legal provisions following the 2006 recasting of directives on employmentCommissioner Spidla referred to the Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men 2006-2010. All European partners were involved and have committed themselves to gender equality in particular to reconciliation between professional and private life. The ‘50 years European Union Project’ anniversary celebrations are a unique opportunity to take stock of what has been done regarding gender equality and equal opportunities and to identify and address the challenges of the future in the contexts of globalization and demographic change.Second SpeakerMs Ziti Gurmai, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Equal Opportunities Ms Gurmai traced equality legislation since 1957 – Treaty of Rome establishing equality in all policy areas and in Community Law to ensure that the principle of equality is backed by strong legislation. She also referred to the Roadmap for Equality 2006-2010 and the Gender Pact, highlighting the importance of addressing reconciliation between work and family lifeThere is the need to revise gender equality in the context of the Lisbon Strategy which should be reflected in the Lisbon Declaration (2007). She also gave latest statistics regarding women in employment in Europe and highlighted current and future challenges:• Demographic change• Making Europe more competitiveIssues that should be given priority are• The gender pay gap• Increasing the number of women in deism-making. In particular in the economy• Reconciliation between work and family life• Childcare facilities- parents – fathers and mothers need to have choices regarding the provision of quality and affordable childcare• The role of employers in providing childcare as a sound investment but this should not be regarded only from the financial point of view• Structural and regional funds should be made use of for more and better childcare facilities and lifelong learning respectively• More campaigns are needed to create awareness of the gender pay gap and to address inequalitiesThird SpeakerThe representative of the Secretary of State of Portugal traced the development of soft legislation in employment, highlighting the directive on access to goods and services. He also spoke about the need to strengthen measures to support victims of discrimination in the workplace, in particular the role of the social partners in addresingthis issue.Reference was made to the July 2007 Conference in Lisbon on Growth and Employment. Emphasis was made on the need to exchange good practices. There is an urgent need for men to be on an equal footing with women in family life. The European Year of Equal Opportunities for All 2007 and its follow-up should work to create a Europe with Equal Opportunities for AllShort Film: Voices from Europe: Examples of application of legislation regarding equal paySession 1Europe’s Achievements in gender equality lawChairperson Mr. Michele Petite, Director General Legal Service European CommissionOpening remarksThis session explained the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and its work throughout the years in interpreting the law and its applicationFirst speaker: Mr. Anindrias O Caoimh, Judge at the Court of Justice of the European CommunitiesThe speaker stated that ECJ doesn’t decide which cases come before it. Its role is to interpret and apply the law. He also traced the developments in legislation resulting from Case Law over the yearsThe speaker highlighted a number of achievements of the ECJ namely the application of affirmative (positive) action in addressing equality issues on the basis of:• Criteria not to discriminate against female candidates, that is not seeking a male norm• Maternity leave not to be judged as a financial loss• StereotypingThe Case Law alone cannot address all the problems; however it can clarify community law to ensure full effect of Community directivesSecond Speaker:Ms Catherine A. MacKinnon, Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School The speaker spoke about two leading approaches on which Europe and US, Canada and South Africa base legislation on discriminationEurope: Aristotle philosophy, while across the Atlantic legislation is based on transforming hierarchies of historically disadvantaged groups Third speaker: Ms Sacha Prechal, Professor of European Law, Utrecht Law School/Europe Institute, Utrecht University The speaker spoke about the obligations of Private Employers, referring to two current cases – Employers versus Trade Unions, the following aspects should be given priorityThe need for effective judicial protection against discriminationSanctions that are effective and proportionate and dissuasiveObligation to interpret the law in conformity with directivesSetting appropriate time limits in submitting cases for investigationThe role of the vigilant ombudsman/womanSession IIAccess to employment and equal payChairperson: Ms Belinda Pyke, Director Equality between Women and Men, Action against discrimination, Directorate General, Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, European CommissionOpening remarks:Reference was made to the French model: economic integration and the German model: social and economic integrationFirst Speaker: Ms Dagmar Schiek, Professor Cahir in European New, University of LeedsThe speaker spoke about Article 3 - the gender mainstreaming clause: • There is the need for strong initiatives in collective agreements on retirement age discrimination• Implementation of gender mainstreaming needs to be more effective• She also highlighted the importance of job classification schemes that should exclude any discrimination based on sex, which is very often difficult to identify. The recast directives do not include the pay gap directive and this should be addressed• The ECJ is reluctant in assessing job classification schemesEqual Treatment Directives: 2002/73 EC and 2007/76 EEC so far take a very narrow approach to positive action although it addresses victimization2002 Case Law addresses:• indirect discrimination• effective judial protection• maternity protection• burden of proofMeasures to put equal treatment into effect:• Structural approach• Proactive polices• Completing Community FrameworkSecond Speaker: Ms Jill Rubery, Professor of Comparative Employment systems, University of Manchester and Co-director of the European Work and Employment Research Centre (EWERC)The speaker spoke about the economic impact of the gender pay gap. Measures to address this issue include:• Encouraging women to invest in education• Childcare facilitates• The role of men• Economic independence • Discrimination unemployment• Statistical discrimination• Studying cases at individual levelShe also spoke about the power of employers in relation to issues regarding raising minimum wages and wages at lower levels. Home production is considered an advantage for women as they have specialized in it, however equality in the labour market is necessary to make up for the lack of equality in sharing of home work The choice is not between home and work but between nor family of workIn speaking about the gender pay gap, the speaker highlighted the following aspects;• Segregation• Discrimination• Women’s unequal burdenWomen’s work is undervalued resulting in risks of:• Being paid less• Employed in occupations that are in themselves undervalued• Increases undervaluing women’s work is emerging in the increase of outsourcing,• part-time work, • new division of labour and • individual contractsThere is the need of integration in job classification systems and not fragmentationProposals:• Developing collective bargaining• Promoting women’s skills to make them more visible (accreditation)• Transparency of rewards• Ending the long hour sculture• Employers to promote incentives for female employees• Comparison across business organizationsOther points raised:• Paid leave so that women do not need to depend on men’s leave• Jobs to be gender mainstreamed• Reconciliation between work and family life is not be the basis of the gender pay gap• Promoting part-time work is resulting in less pensions entitlement• Skills shortages can be linked to underutilized women and not necessarily to migrants• The need for a change of culture for employers, especially where there are no social partners to address discrimination issues• The EU More and Better Jobs strategy should include women’s participation in the labour market and emphasis should be on the quality of the jobsThird speaker: Mr. Bengt Axelsson, Brigadier General, Swedish Defence Force The speaker gave an explanation of an initiative he took in addressing gender discrimination in the Armed ForcesIt takes will and good leadership ‘It takes a hard guy to deal with a soft question’Fourth speaker: Ms Daniel Banker, Head of Unit: Equality, Action Against Discrimination, Legal questions, Directorate General, Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, European CommissionThe speaker linked development of equality legislation with the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Employment. She emphasized the obligations of member states in adopting positive measures to eliminate discrimination. Job classification schemes need to include effective measures to ensure the elimination of discrimination. Member states are obliged to promote equality and to encourage social partners to adopt equality measures. Member states are obliged to ensure equal pay is implemented and not just to ensure that social partners take the responsibilityECJ has wide case law on cases of ‘equal work’ and indirect discrimination in part-time work which should be consultedOther points raisedAre we well equipped to combat discrimination with the current legal instruments?Addressing indirect discrimination is not easy; it is disguised and usually addresses groups of employees and not individuals. This makes it more difficult to establish and victims might not be aware of discriminationWe need to study closely current criteria of job classifications – their explicit, implicit implications, progression of work in the context of time, availability, home responsibilitiesWe need to ensure transparency in job classification systems. There is the need for positive action to tackle labour market segregationClose monitoring and evaluationIn studying job classification criteria focus should be on:• part-time work, • new work organization, • access to education and vocational training • IT training• A closer study of the working time Directive is necessary to ensure non-discrimination
 
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