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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.
Date: 11/09/2014
 

Pensions reform for women - what options?!

Over the last years, pensions reform discussions have been high on the National Agenda, but little has been done, creating ripples only to subside once more, notwithstanding the number of reports published by constituted bodies and organisations, giving their recommendations. Today we are still discussing this issue in an effort to find solutions and ensure that government and social partners reach agreement on national policy and implementation to address the multifaceted issues of pensions for women.
In the last few years women’s participation in the labour market has increased and has reached 48%, thus providing sustenance to the government’s coffers. This change has come about following the introduction of family-friendly legislation and measures such as increased maternity leave, tele-working, reduced hours, career breaks, tax incentives and more recently the free childcare centres.
Addressing undeclared work (also at EU level)  also aims at encouraging women through strong public awareness campaigns and incentives to join the formal labour market rather than remaining invisible, with no social benefits and protection and therefore realise that work pays. The short term benefits of working in the black economy could translate into poverty at a later stage in life.
It is somewhat difficult for many women to achieve the full 40 year contribution period, since they interrupt their working life to become mothers or to look after ageing parents and other dependants of the family, because it is still the cultural obligation for the woman to offer these caring services which, in reality, are a contribution to society. However, in return women are penalised for having children and/or for having served caring duties.The message that must be sent should be a pro-family one,  given the low birth rate currently prevailing.
What If the government had to add up all the costs of Club 3-16, not only the teachers /carers costs, but the transport costs, the pollution cost, against the NI contribution being paid by those using the centres, will there be a positive balance for the government? At no time am I implying that these are not good solutions. Why do we still have schools that open at 8.00am and finish at 1.30 or 2.30pm? Why do not children have a FULL day at school, same hours of a normal working day, in line with other EU countries. This is not an easy matter, it requires drastic changes and an innovative approach to the National Curriculum to ensure that children and students are not overburdened with formal learning as it can be counterproductive, but offering extra curriculum opportunities to all children.
A reform of the pensions cannot be implemented in isolation; it must also comprehensively tackle all the other aspects, including the socio-economic dimension from a gender perspective.  Unlike most men, women have career breaks and according to statistics they work until they are in their late twenties, when they stop to have a family and return to the labour market in their late thirties, early forties.  Women should be encouraged to use this ‘break time’ to increase or build on their skills, to enhance their job opportunities once they re - enter the labour market
The rate of females whether over 40 or worse still over 55 in the labour market is very low and whereas the number of pensioners working after retiring age has increased, that of female pensioners has lagged behind, being placed second from last at EU level, just ahead of Slovenia, from among the EU member states.. Female entrepreneurship must also be encouraged as this may offer the flexibility of working hours and monetary gains, as apart from having created their own employment they could also  create jobs for others. 
An indepth study of the type of pensions entitlement and their impact on women’s life cycle has been carried out by a renowned researcher in Malta This should be the basis for the way forward.  Women may have worked at home all their life or worked alongside their husband in the family business, but never paid any contributions; they will live on their husband’s pension and their savings. When he passes away, she will inherit a reduced pension – a widow’s pension. A woman who has worked part or all her life will receive her own pension when she retires and her husband will also, but when she is widowed she must choose between her pension and a widow’s pension, which is outright discrimination. A woman who has worked has a right to a pension because she has contributed towards it, and like women who have never contributed, she ALSO has a right to the widow’s pension - both are contributory pensions!
With regards to social benefits, what provisions have been made for a separated /divorced woman to which she should be entitled by law from her husband’s pension? Addressing the needs of another category of women, how many women are in dire straits, because contributions were not paid for a variety of reasons, often beyond a woman’s control? 
Malta should be moving towards establishing a minimum income that better reflects the spending power of households, to ensure that every single household member is protected from falling in the poverty trap. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. The National Insurance contributions are not only the obligation of working citizens, but must also be recognised as an investment for a person’s future. Education in financial matters must start at a young age, and the value of money and its purchasing power must be imparted to children as they grow up, learning to budget whatever income they have and learning also to save for a rainy day.
Mary Gaerty
President , National Council of Women
 
 
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