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Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
1. Education, training and life-long learning Everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successfully transitions in the labour market. 2. Gender equality Equality of treatment and opportunities between women and men must be ensured and fostered in all areas, including regarding participation in the labour market, terms and conditions of employment and career progression. Women and men have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.
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
Better work-life balance for EU citizens: Presidency reaches provisional agreement with the European Parliament
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.

Civil Society and the European Union (Date: 22/02/2003)

Organised Civil Society in the Applicant Countries
and the European Union – The Europe We Want!
Expectations, questions and issues regarding the future of Europe

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a seminar towards the end of January at its headquarters in Brussels to ensure that civil society organisations from candidate countries are actively involved in the debate on the future of Europe.

The objective of the seminar was to present to the European Convention the aspirations and expectations of organised civil society in the candidate countries with regard to the future of Europe and work of the Convention.

The aims of the seminar were to help provide civil society organisations from the candidate countries with a structured channel for expressing and promoting their views on the future of Europe drawing on their values, priorities and aspirations and
To give practical expression to the Convention’s expectations with regard to the involvement of civil society from candidate countries in the debate on the future of Europe

The seminar was attended by European civil society organisations and delegations from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkey and Malta who was represented by the President of the National Council of Women.

Mr Henri Malosse, EESC Bureau member responsible for cooperation with civil society organisations in the candidate countries said that the contribution made by civil society is increasingly important not only nationally but also and above all on the European stage. The European constitution must provide means for civil society from the member states and the applicant countries alike to play a part.

The quality of the reforms undertaken and their acceptance by the public will depend on the involvement of civil society in preparing the draft constitution. This is all more fundamental for the applicant countries. By drawing on the connections and positive and practical experiences it has built up, the EESC intends to give the applicant country economic and social organisations an opportunity to use their experience, their skills and their vision of the future of Europe to contribute to the future institutional reforms to promote European integration. This has been done through two key instruments for dialogue:

• The Joint Consultative Committees (JCCs) which are made up of equal shares of representatives of the main civil society organisations (business, including SMEs, craftsmen, farmers, fisheries organsiations, trade unions, consumers, social and environmental organsiations, education, science, culture, religious, human rights, women, youth associations and other interested groups. Ten countries, including Turkey, have set up a Joint Consultative Committee, (JCC).
• The Discussion Forum. The Committee submitted two questionnaires to applicant country civil society organisations – one on European integration and enlargement and the other on the topics covered by the Convention.
The presentation of the results of the consultation was followed by three round tables on the following topics:

• What kind of Europe do we want? The European Social Model
• Economic and Social Governance in an enlarged Europe
• Participatory Democracy and the role of EESC

Analysis of the questionnaires in which Malta participated through the Co-operatives Board, Din l-Art Helwa, Nature Trust, The Eden Foundation and the National Council of Women together with organsiations from candidate countries has revealed opinions on a number of issues. The following are some of the findings.
What kind of Europe do we want ? The European Social Model - An overall expectation of pluralism, freedom of expression, prosperity, openness and reintegration into a unified Europe was expressed.

Social development and promotion of national heritage– Civil society has sought recognition as a real force representing the interests of ordinary people. Some organisations aim to be the mouthpiece for those with no voice; others focus on entrepreneurial spirit, equal opportunities, the creativity of the young people, the promotion of the role of women in society. All these organisations want to cultivate participatory democracies an instrument to foster individual fulfilment and social progress.

The single market and economic prosperity – The single market is widely held among organisations of smaller countries who see the single market as a means of standing up more effectively to international competition

Rule of law, education and culture – The establishment and smooth running of a State subject to the rule of law is recognised as a fundamental value, not least in the economic field where the dividing line between private initiative and criminality should not become blurred. Many organisations view mutual enrichment through cultural exchanges to be one of the EU’s key assets. They set great store by the history and traditions of their peoples and nations, with expectations of a high-quality framework for providing diversity, equality and cultural integration between peoples, including minorities.

New and more democratic governance – As the time draws near, applicant country organisations want the text to include very clear references to basic objectives, values, rights, including ethics, morality and transparency. They also stress the importance of the effective application of the principles of equal rights and opportunities between men and women, between the different social groups and also between the proposed adoption of a European constitution. Civil society representatives in the applicant countries are fully aware of the issue of their internal and external security. Their concern for respect of diversity reflects a great attachment to the building of their nations and States, whose sovereignty is of paramount importance. It is therefore the concept of a union of States and peoples that wins the highest approval.

Economic and social governance for an integrated Europe – So far, there have been no views expressed on methods of governance. This is a matter of urgency as these representatives must prepare themselves as effectively as possible to take part in the decision-making and consultation processes, when they will join the EU on the 1 May 2004 as confirmed by the Copenhagen European Council.

Territorial and social cohesion – The majority of the organisations that took part in the survey call for powers of the EU to be increased in areas relating to society and daily life: social affairs, including the fight against injustice and poverty and the environment. Many civil society organisations are broadly critical of the ways and means of implementing the EU programmes in the applicant countries. They are put off by the complexity of EU procedures for cohesion policy (Structural Funds, etc). The issues of better information, specific training on European programme management, coordination between organisations and effective partnership with civil society should therefore be on the agenda of future reforms to improve EU governance in the implementation of cohesion policy.

Community’ acquis and simplification – Civil Society organisations understand very well the need for the Community acquis to be transposed without delay, but they feel that people should be better informed of the consequences of incorporating the acquis into national law and above all that the role of civil society organisations in this process should be enhanced.

Citizenship and power sharing – The applicant country civil society organisations are in favour of a dual citizenship. This new citizenship is much more attractive to people in applicant countries but hey expect it to have an immediate impact in terms of free movement of workers. In the case of power sharing, the institutions they favour are the European Parliament and also the national parliaments.

Participation of organised civil society at local, regional and national level and at European level – The organisations of many applicant countries state that they are not consulted by their representatives on the Convention. They call for the citizens to be listened to more carefully at local level: discussion forum and advisory committees for use of the Structural Funds that provide for the participation of economic and social partners. They want to have more of a say, not just be informed. They want to be involved in managing EU programmes. Some of these organisations are confident of their own role in disseminating information and knowledge and encouraging public debate on the consequences of joining the EU.

The seminar sought to enhance the role of civil society in a participatory democracy. Many of the obstacles were similar in all candidate countries, with the exception of France who has succeeded in organising civil society. Legislation to regulate the relationship between government and civil society of candidate countries is necessary. ‘We need civil society of candidate countries to help us prepare for enlargement before the Spring summit’.

In his conclusion of the round tables, Mr Henri Malosse stated that participation, sharing of powers is needed to make governments visibly responsible. Civil society is an important element to build a humanist, sensitive Europe. While emphasising the importance of effectiveness to carry out what each organisation says, Mr Malosse highlighted the importance of the contribution of women, youths and children as citizens of Europe. ‘We are multi-stakeholders, and each has a role to play’. The seminar is not the end but the starting point.

EESC President Mr Briesch and Observer on the Convention concluded the seminar stating that building the future of Europe is not only done through the political system. The Economic and Social Committee, speaking in the Convention after debating with civil society presented a policy that was reached with consensus - a common position that represents the interests of all participants. Through civil dialogue, members of civil society - opinion makers who work on the implementation of laws - are complementary to political dialogue and social dialogue. And therefore structured relationships with the different EU institutions can facilitate the representation of all members of civil society.

Reference was also made to Malta’s forthcoming referendum – with a message of encouragement – ‘If I win, I win for everyone; if I lose, I lose only myself’!

The National Council of Women has repeatedly expressed its views on the role of civil society, particularly that of NGOs in a participatory democracy. The seminar has revealed all too clearly the need to seek to organise NGOs at national level to ensure that they have a voice at local and EU level. More information is available on Internet website : http://www.esc.eu.int. NCW may be contacted Tel: 21 248881 or Tel/Fax: 21 246982 or email: ncwmalta@camline.net.mt or gracencw@hotmail.com

Grace Attard
NCW President

Organised Civil Society in the Applicant Countriesand the European Union – The Europe We Want!Expectations, questions and issues regarding the future of EuropeThe European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a seminar towards the end of January at its headquarters in Brussels to ensure that civil society organisations from candidate countries are actively involved in the debate on the future of Europe. The objective of the seminar was to present to the European Convention the aspirations and expectations of organised civil society in the candidate countries with regard to the future of Europe and work of the Convention.The aims of the seminar were to help provide civil society organisations from the candidate countries with a structured channel for expressing and promoting their views on the future of Europe drawing on their values, priorities and aspirations and To give practical expression to the Convention’s expectations with regard to the involvement of civil society from candidate countries in the debate on the future of EuropeThe seminar was attended by European civil society organisations and delegations from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkey and Malta who was represented by the President of the National Council of Women.Mr Henri Malosse, EESC Bureau member responsible for cooperation with civil society organisations in the candidate countries said that the contribution made by civil society is increasingly important not only nationally but also and above all on the European stage. The European constitution must provide means for civil society from the member states and the applicant countries alike to play a part.The quality of the reforms undertaken and their acceptance by the public will depend on the involvement of civil society in preparing the draft constitution. This is all more fundamental for the applicant countries. By drawing on the connections and positive and practical experiences it has built up, the EESC intends to give the applicant country economic and social organisations an opportunity to use their experience, their skills and their vision of the future of Europe to contribute to the future institutional reforms to promote European integration. This has been done through two key instruments for dialogue:• The Joint Consultative Committees (JCCs) which are made up of equal shares of representatives of the main civil society organisations (business, including SMEs, craftsmen, farmers, fisheries organsiations, trade unions, consumers, social and environmental organsiations, education, science, culture, religious, human rights, women, youth associations and other interested groups. Ten countries, including Turkey, have set up a Joint Consultative Committee, (JCC).• The Discussion Forum. The Committee submitted two questionnaires to applicant country civil society organisations – one on European integration and enlargement and the other on the topics covered by the Convention.The presentation of the results of the consultation was followed by three round tables on the following topics:• What kind of Europe do we want? The European Social Model• Economic and Social Governance in an enlarged Europe• Participatory Democracy and the role of EESCAnalysis of the questionnaires in which Malta participated through the Co-operatives Board, Din l-Art Helwa, Nature Trust, The Eden Foundation and the National Council of Women together with organsiations from candidate countries has revealed opinions on a number of issues. The following are some of the findings.What kind of Europe do we want ? The European Social Model - An overall expectation of pluralism, freedom of expression, prosperity, openness and reintegration into a unified Europe was expressed.Social development and promotion of national heritage– Civil society has sought recognition as a real force representing the interests of ordinary people. Some organisations aim to be the mouthpiece for those with no voice; others focus on entrepreneurial spirit, equal opportunities, the creativity of the young people, the promotion of the role of women in society. All these organisations want to cultivate participatory democracies an instrument to foster individual fulfilment and social progress.The single market and economic prosperity – The single market is widely held among organisations of smaller countries who see the single market as a means of standing up more effectively to international competitionRule of law, education and culture – The establishment and smooth running of a State subject to the rule of law is recognised as a fundamental value, not least in the economic field where the dividing line between private initiative and criminality should not become blurred. Many organisations view mutual enrichment through cultural exchanges to be one of the EU’s key assets. They set great store by the history and traditions of their peoples and nations, with expectations of a high-quality framework for providing diversity, equality and cultural integration between peoples, including minorities. New and more democratic governance – As the time draws near, applicant country organisations want the text to include very clear references to basic objectives, values, rights, including ethics, morality and transparency. They also stress the importance of the effective application of the principles of equal rights and opportunities between men and women, between the different social groups and also between the proposed adoption of a European constitution. Civil society representatives in the applicant countries are fully aware of the issue of their internal and external security. Their concern for respect of diversity reflects a great attachment to the building of their nations and States, whose sovereignty is of paramount importance. It is therefore the concept of a union of States and peoples that wins the highest approval.Economic and social governance for an integrated Europe – So far, there have been no views expressed on methods of governance. This is a matter of urgency as these representatives must prepare themselves as effectively as possible to take part in the decision-making and consultation processes, when they will join the EU on the 1 May 2004 as confirmed by the Copenhagen European Council.Territorial and social cohesion – The majority of the organisations that took part in the survey call for powers of the EU to be increased in areas relating to society and daily life: social affairs, including the fight against injustice and poverty and the environment. Many civil society organisations are broadly critical of the ways and means of implementing the EU programmes in the applicant countries. They are put off by the complexity of EU procedures for cohesion policy (Structural Funds, etc). The issues of better information, specific training on European programme management, coordination between organisations and effective partnership with civil society should therefore be on the agenda of future reforms to improve EU governance in the implementation of cohesion policy.Community’ acquis and simplification – Civil Society organisations understand very well the need for the Community acquis to be transposed without delay, but they feel that people should be better informed of the consequences of incorporating the acquis into national law and above all that the role of civil society organisations in this process should be enhanced.Citizenship and power sharing – The applicant country civil society organisations are in favour of a dual citizenship. This new citizenship is much more attractive to people in applicant countries but hey expect it to have an immediate impact in terms of free movement of workers. In the case of power sharing, the institutions they favour are the European Parliament and also the national parliaments.Participation of organised civil society at local, regional and national level and at European level – The organisations of many applicant countries state that they are not consulted by their representatives on the Convention. They call for the citizens to be listened to more carefully at local level: discussion forum and advisory committees for use of the Structural Funds that provide for the participation of economic and social partners. They want to have more of a say, not just be informed. They want to be involved in managing EU programmes. Some of these organisations are confident of their own role in disseminating information and knowledge and encouraging public debate on the consequences of joining the EU.The seminar sought to enhance the role of civil society in a participatory democracy. Many of the obstacles were similar in all candidate countries, with the exception of France who has succeeded in organising civil society. Legislation to regulate the relationship between government and civil society of candidate countries is necessary. ‘We need civil society of candidate countries to help us prepare for enlargement before the Spring summit’. In his conclusion of the round tables, Mr Henri Malosse stated that participation, sharing of powers is needed to make governments visibly responsible. Civil society is an important element to build a humanist, sensitive Europe. While emphasising the importance of effectiveness to carry out what each organisation says, Mr Malosse highlighted the importance of the contribution of women, youths and children as citizens of Europe. ‘We are multi-stakeholders, and each has a role to play’. The seminar is not the end but the starting point. EESC President Mr Briesch and Observer on the Convention concluded the seminar stating that building the future of Europe is not only done through the political system. The Economic and Social Committee, speaking in the Convention after debating with civil society presented a policy that was reached with consensus - a common position that represents the interests of all participants. Through civil dialogue, members of civil society - opinion makers who work on the implementation of laws - are complementary to political dialogue and social dialogue. And therefore structured relationships with the different EU institutions can facilitate the representation of all members of civil society.Reference was also made to Malta’s forthcoming referendum – with a message of encouragement – ‘If I win, I win for everyone; if I lose, I lose only myself’!The National Council of Women has repeatedly expressed its views on the role of civil society, particularly that of NGOs in a participatory democracy. The seminar has revealed all too clearly the need to seek to organise NGOs at national level to ensure that they have a voice at local and EU level. More information is available on Internet website : http://www.esc.eu.int. NCW may be contacted Tel: 21 248881 or Tel/Fax: 21 246982 or email: ncwmalta@camline.net.mt or gracencw@hotmail.comGrace AttardNCW President
 
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