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The Hague Conference on Private International Law The Parentage/Surrogacy Project
The Hague Conference on Private International Law The « Parentage / Surrogacy Project » Intervention of a Grouping of Human Rights Non-Governmental Organizations In March 2015, we sent to the permanent Bureau a contribution showing that surrogacy is contrary to international human rights law and proposing the creation within the UN of a Convention on the International Abolition of Surrogacy. We also requested to be consulted as part of the current work of the HCCH, in order to represent the views of civil society. Since our contribution has not been taken into account so far, we ask once again for our arguments to be considered by the Experts’ Group on Parentage / Surrogacy. We ask for a radical change of perspective in the way the issue of surrogate motherhood is dealt with.
Trafficking of women for sexual exploitation….the fight goes on!
The National Council of Women strongly supports and looks forward to the proposed steps to be taken by the Office of the Attorney General and the Malta Police Force to review and propose reforms on current procedures concerning the identification of victims of human trafficking, before the initiation of prosecution proceedings.
No to the legalisation of prostitution!
The National Council of Women is very concerned with the proposal that once again is being put forward to debate legalising prostitution and it reiterates its position that such a law would be a confirmation that women are considered a commodity and that women's sexual favours are there for the taking as long as one pays!
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women,
Vera Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality has taken the initiative to dedicate 2017 to combating violence against women. But it requires the dedication of all of us: Member State national and local authorities, International Organisations, civil society organisations, academia, businesses, trade unions, police, health professionals, social care professionals and all European men and women to fight to make violence against women a thing of the past. More than an awareness-raising campaign, this initiative will support and engage all stakeholders in combatting this problem. Commissioner Jourová invites all to join these focused actions to combat violence against women, as it will be a concerted effort.
No to the legalisation of prostitution!
The National Council of Women is very concerned with the proposal that once again is being put forward to legalise prostitution.(Times of Malta 6.4.2016).Such a law would be a confirmation that women are a commodity and that women's sexual favours are there for the taking as long as one pays! This worst form of degradation of women is totally unacceptable.
The Right to Life of the Human Embryo - not a Commodity
Three years ago the Embryo Protection Act was enacted. As the name implies this law was specifically drawn to safeguard the rights of a new human being at its most vulnerable stage. Bringing a child into the world is not a right, either to a male or female who wish to become a parent, because in so doing they might be ignoring the rights of the third person in this equation- the child.
WOMEN: Maternity leave - MEPs call for progress
Brussels, 07/05/2015 (Agence Europe) - The committee on women's rights and gender equality has urged the Council of Ministers to resume negotiations on maternity leave.
WOMEN: Jourova determined to adopt maternity leave directive
Brussels, 05/03/2015 (Agence Europe) - On Thursday 5 March, the European Commissioner for Gender Equality, Vera Jourova, stated: “Europe is a good address for women, but there are still gaps in gender equality, which means lots of work for us”. The Commissioner made her comments at a press conference organised at the European Parliament on the most recent annual Commission report on inequality between men and women.
WOMEN: Parliament and Commission urge Council to agree on quota project
Brussels, 14/01/2015 (Agence Europe) - The Commission and European Parliament are urging the Latvian presidency of the Council of the EU to ensure that a consensus is obtained from member states on the European quota project. This project seeks to ensure that the boards of directors in major European companies quoted on the stock exchange have at least 40% of their members who are women.
Scheme for business start-ups by mothers with young children wins top prize at EEPA 2014
Scheme for business start-ups by mothers with young children wins top prize at EEPA 2014 The seven winners of the 8th edition of European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) were announced today. The Grand Jury Prize winner came from Hungary. The project, Encouraging Business Start-ups by Mothers with Young Children, helps mothers to acquire the entrepreneurial skills and mind-set needed to start a business and run it successfully.
(AE) WOMEN: Jourova and Thyssen should put maternity leave on agenda
Umea, 25/09/2014 (Agence Europe) - The draft directive on maternity leave, which the European Commission is threatening to withdraw, is expected to be a priority for future Commissioners Vera Jourova and Marianne Thyssen - in charge of equal opportunities and employment respectively.
(AE) WOMEN: Women up by 1% on boards of directors
Stockholm, 25/09/2013 (Agence Europe) - The average share of women on the boards of the largest publicly listed companies in the EU rose to 18.6% in April 2014 from 17.8% in October 2013. These new statistics were released on Wednesday 24 September by the European Commission.
Peace Statement
In 2014, it is poignant that we commemorate the start of the first World War in 1914, with all its suffering and horrors. Yet, a century on, we still have so many current conflict zones around the globe, which are no less horrific.
Council of Europe on Domestic Violence
Brussels, 29/07/2014 (Agence Europe) - On Monday 28 July, Anne Brasseur, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) stated: “On 1 August 2014, a new stage in the protection of human rights will begin in Europe: the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence will enter into force in 11 Council of Europe member states”. In France and Sweden, this convention will be in force from 1 November 2014.
COMMISSION: One female and twelve male commissioners so far
Brussels, 28/07/2014 (Agence Europe) - With only 13 commissioners officially designated, Jean-Claude Juncker's future team is taking shape very slowly and is facing a number of obstacles, relating both to issues of gender and to those nominated
Female EU Commissioners call for more women in Juncker's new team
Barroso II female commissioners sign letter supporting call for at least 10 women to be nominated by member states.
Europolitics' staff contributed to this article on women EU Commissioners
Jean-Claude Juncker is losing patience. The political groups in the European Parliament are becoming threatening. All eyes are on the capitals, with one question: where are the women politicians who could be named European commissioners? Not all the member states - far from it -, which have sole responsibility for these decisions, seem resolved to play the hand of gender parity.
EMISCO Press Release on Gaza Situation
Normally, EMISCO-European Initiative for social cohesion does not take sides in territorial conflicts, condemn or support any given country nor do we issue statements of intent in political disputes outside Europe. We work for the socio-economic, cultural and religions rights of the Muslim communities as well as the betterment of relations among various ethnic and religious groups who live in Europe. But when a far away conflict in the Middle East reaches European shores and causes disharmony, violence – verbal and physical – and disturbs peaceful living, we cannot stay silent. EMISCO is very worried that the increased violence, indiscriminate
SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Reminder of EU action against this scourge
Brussels, 16/06/2014 (Agence Europe) - During a summit on sexual violence in conflict areas, which took place in London, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton recalled, on Thursday 12 June, the EU's action against this.
Summer English Language Courses for the Family
English Language Courses start on Tuesday 1st July 2014 till Tuesday 16th September. Children who have reached the 4th, 5th and 6th year of primary and 1st and 2nd of secondary may accompany the adults. The course is free of charge with a donation of €2 per adult for photocopies, tea,coffee and biscuits. For further information and booking contacted NCW office on 21248881/21246982
Gender equality: EU action triggers steady progress
In 2013 the European Commission continued taking action to improve equality between women and men, including steps to close the gender gaps in employment, pay and pensions discrepancies, to combat violence and to promote equality in decision-making.
Violence against Women: every day and everywhere
A new report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights(FRA) presents results from the world's biggest-ever survey on violence against women, revealing the extent of abuse suffered by women at home, work, in public and online.
Yes to 40% quota of women on boards of directors
Strasbourg, 20/11/2013 (Agence Europe) - The European Parliament has given a boost to meritocracy in businesses with its approval, by very large majority (459 votes to 148, with 81 abstentions) of the introduction of a quota of 40% of women on the boards of directors of large European companies quoted on the stock exchange, of which there are around 5,000, in 2020.
MEDITERRANEAN: Activists call on EU for a different political message
Brussels, 19/09/2013 (Agence Europe) - Sounding the alert on worsening conditions for women in the southern countries of the Mediterranean, women's rights activists called on the European Union, on 18 September, to change its message to these countries.
UFM: Conference on women's rights and against sexual violence
Brussels, 13/09/2013 (Agence Europe) - Over 20 ministers from the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), and various women's representatives, met in Paris on 12 September for a conference on strengthening the role of women in Euro-Mediterranean society. High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton also attended.
EP stresses need for response to salary gap
Brussels, 13/09/2013 (Agence Europe) -MEPs are urging the member states to do all in their power to reduce the salary gap between men and women, which is still around 16% on average in Europe. On Thursday 12 September, they adopted a resolution to this effect drafted by MEP Edit Bauer (EPP Slovakia). The salary gap also has long-term negative fallout for women on the employment market, their pension levels and exposure to poverty.
Stop trivialising violence against women
Stop trivialising violence against women The National Council of Women, once again raises serious concerns on the case of violent sexual assault carried out on Ms Shanti Shresta Achami, (Sunday Times 9thJune). The Council has for many years been publicly questioning Court sentences that unfortunately are not perceived as reflecting the seriousness of the crime of sexual assault or other cases of violence against women.
Women on Boards: Vice-President Viviane Reding and Markus Klimmer, Managing Director at Accenture di
Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, met with Markus Klimmer, Managing Director at Accenture, today to discuss how best to improve gender balance on company boards.
NCW congratulates Maltese Women MEPs
The National Council of Women welcomes the news that three women have been elected as MEPs, giving women a 50% presence amongst the six Maltese MEPs.
WOMEN: 59 days in 2013 before equal remuneration in Europe
Dublin, 01/03/2013 (Agence Europe) - It is only from 28 February this year that women in Europe started to earn the same salary as men. An additional 59 days are therefore needed for women to reduce the pay gap - which this year still stands at 16.2% according to figures published by the European Commission.
(AE) WOMEN: Consultation and future action on genital mutilation
Brussels, 13/02/2013 (Agence Europe) -European Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Viviane Reding is preparing to launch a public consultation and concrete initiatives to tackle female genital mutilation in March. During the period of the consultation, a conference, organised with other Commissioners, on the fight against violence against women will be held.
AE) WOMEN: Already more women on company boards after quota proposal
Brussels, 25/01/2013 (AgenceEurope) - The European Commission believes that its controversial proposal on a quota of women on company boards could be bearing fruit. It notes that in less than a year, twice as many women are now on company boards in Europe, with a significant increase in the large majority of member states. Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding seized the moment to present these encouraging results to the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday 25 January.
WOMEN: 50/50 declaration for parity in institutions after 2014
Brussels, 22/11/2012 (Agence Europe) - MEPs are now ready to do battle to defend equality in the European institutions after the 2014 elections. A “multi-party” declaration was presented on Wednesday 22 November at the European Parliament during the plenary session.
(AE) WOMEN: Parliamentary pressure to counter domestic violence
Brussels, 19/11/2012 (Agence Europe) - Five MEPs are putting pressure on the EU to ratify the international convention to prevent and combat violence against women. Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL, Sweden), Barbara Matera (EPP, Italy), Antonya Parvanova (ALDE, Bulgaria), Raül Romeva (Greens/EFA, Spain) and Britta Thomsen (S&D, Denmark) are urging their colleagues to sign a written declaration in this connection. The declaration calls on the EU to ratify the Council of Europe convention on tackling domestic violence and violence against women. It also urges member states to subsequently take action against this phenomenon.
(AE) WOMEN: Nicosia progresses pay gap debate
Brussels, 31/10/2012 (Agence Europe) - The Cypriot Presidency is pushing the pay gap debate forwards - the difference in pay between men and women still being on average 16% in Europe. At a conference organised in Cyprus on this topic on 29-30 October, the Presidency concluded that the reduction of this pay gap comes through “promoting social dialogue and tripartite cooperation as a way of tackling this problem”.
(AE) WOMEN: Reding is snubbed - quotas deferred until mid-November Brussels, 23/10/2012 (Agence Euro
The quota of 40% women on bluechip company boards has been postponed, but Viviane Reding is determined not to give up her highly controversial proposal for a directive. She promises that the dossier will be back on the Commission agenda by the end of November, when it will be stronger and more open to subsidiarity. Reding, who is optimistic, said that after a century-long battle her proposal could wait another couple of weeks
(AE) WOMEN: Moment of truth for Reding and corporate quotas
Brussels, 22/10/2012 (Agence Europe) - The College of Commissioners may sweep away with one hand the proposal to bring in a 40% quota for women on management boards in European companies quoted on the stock exchange, a proposal that Commissioner Viviane Reding plans to submit on Tuesday.
Women - Reding bases argument on subsidiarity quotas
Brussels, 05/10/2012 (Agence Europe) - Viviane Reding, the commissioner responsible for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, has already been able to get into her stride with regard to feminine quotas in large companies - ahead of time and on converted ground.
The EWL has written to the European Commission and Member States
The EWL has written to the European Commission and Member States in response to a letter signed by 9 countries against a proposed EU Directive to increase the number of women on boards across Europe. Although well below our expectations, the EWL is giving its full backing to Commissioner Reding’s proposal, and calling on all parties to do the same.
(AE) WOMEN: ECB, letter from Goulard to Juncker on parity
Brussels, 18/09/2012 (Agence Europe) - French liberal MEP, Sylvie Goulard, has directly addressed the president of Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, to again draw attention to the question of respecting equal opportunities for women when appointing the sixth member of the European Central Bank board of governors. The economic and financial committee, of which Goulard is a member, effectively suspended the hearing of Yves Mersch for a post on the board of governors, due to the lack of gender balance on the board.
(AE) WOMEN: Greens favour quotas and hit back at nine blocking states
Brussels, 20/09/2012 (Agence Europe) - The Greens are hitting back at the intention of nine member states not to support Viviane Reding's awaited proposal on setting a quota of 40% women on the boards of bluechip companies.
Women on Boards: Viviane Reding meets with leaders of Europe's business schools and industry
On the 19 June, 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.
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: Campaign to get more women into scientific careers
Brussels, 22/06/2012 (Agence Europe) - Science is also a “girl thing”. That is the message the Commission intends to drive home throughout the EU over the next three years to get more girls interested in science and encourage more women to choose research as a career.
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: 02/08/2010


 The Gender Perspective in the EU 2020 Strategy

One of the key targets of the Lisbon Strategy was increasing the participation rate of women in the labour market, which however failed to be reached in specific areas for several reasons. The year 2010 represents an important step for the future of gender policies because it marks the end of the actions promoted by the "Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men 2006-2010".The timing for the preparation of the gender equality future strategy coincides with the current preparation for the EU 2020 strategy. The success of the EU 2020 depends strongly on strengthening gender equality targetsGender Equality: Qualitative goals:

New or specific targets should be set within the framework of the integrated guidelines, especially in areas where there has been limited progress in the Lisbon Strategy on gender equality.Areas to be addressed

1. Gender Equality in the Labour market

Occupational segregation

The labour market continues to be characterized by horizontal and vertical segregation and to reflect major areas of inequality between men and women particularly in access to jobs, women’s level of qualification and the quality of their jobs, career progression, pay and experience of discrimination and harassment. It is still mainly women who undertake unpaid work for the family and there is still over-representation of women in some sectors, including, for example, in the caring professions and in part time work, less skilled jobs, atypical and/or temporary contracts, and under-representation in others, for example, the science, engineering and technology sectors.

Gender pay gap

One of the consequences of the inequalities in the labour market can be measured by the persistence of the gender pay gap. Across the EU, women earn, on average, 17.4% less than men for each hour worked. Strong differences persist between the public and the private sector, with generally a higher gender pay gap in the industry sector.

Gender based discrimination in the labour market

Gender based discrimination in the labour market persists. Women continue to share the higher proportion of atypical and precarious jobs, register lower employment rates than men and experience discrimination in vocational training and career progression.

Women’s entrepreneurship

In the last decade, women have demonstrated more dynamism and autonomy as self-employed and independent professionals, as shown by the low but increased number of enterprises run by women and women’s entrepreneurship. However, women still face many difficulties in the support of new businesses through their early years.

Social protection

The employment of women is, and will continue to be, an essential component for ensuring both women's autonomy and independence as well as successful economies. It is therefore vital to combine the measures targeting employment with other measures strengthening the national social protection systems in order to ensure adequate support for women and men in their dual responsibility as workers and parents/carers.

Special attention should be paid to single-parent families. This is an even greater challenge in the current economic downturn, as many women and men might find themselves in a weaker position in the labour market which presents a greater risk of poverty, especially for women and men who belong to already vulnerable groups.

Poverty and social exclusion

Women are still more likely to undertake caring and home responsibilities and, therefore, are likely to have shorter careers or interrupted periods of work when compared to their male counterparts. This may render them more vulnerable than men to poverty. The gender gap in pensions, which can be related to the pay gap and to the unequal share of unpaid work, should also be taken into account as a factor of poverty for women.

Recommendations for the EU 2020 on Gender Equality in the Labour Market

The European Commission (EC) and Member States should renew their commitment to create more and better jobs under the EU 2020 recognising women’s employment and gender equality policies are a key factor for the growth of employment and competitiveness in the EU and a necessary contribution to respond to labour shortages and new skills needs.

2. The EC and Member States should address the issue of women working more hours, of quality and sustainability of employment for women, of their situation in the labour market and should strongly support the breakdown of all forms of occupational segregation, both horizontally and vertically, in order to ensure the full use of women’s education, skills and talents. Member States should also focus on encouraging both girls and boys to make non-gender specific choices of education and profession.

3. The EC should ensure that statistical data to monitor the gender pay gap are comparable between Member States, also through the involvement of the European Institute for Gender Equality.

4. The EC should encourage Member States to establish targets and timeframe for closing the gender pay gap. Moreover, the EC should promote supporting tools for employers and trade unions, such as job evaluation methods free from gender bias and concrete measures on transparency of wages.

5. The EC should encourage Member States to ensure that their national monitoring systems for employment contracts and working environments comply with the principle of equal treatment in both public and private sectors and to both full and part time occupations.

6. Member States should support women’s entrepreneurship and economic independence through measures fostering a positive environment which might include the provision of appropriate vocational training and re-skilling, creation of organisational networks and mentoring, promotion of good practices, financial incentives and access to credit leading to the consolidation of these enterprises.

7. Member States should, where necessary, improve the protection of women and men workers through ensuring equality of access to social protection systems, including pension rights and health care in order to guarantee individual rights to social protection and social benefits concerning motherhood, fatherhood, parenting and caring, and to address the issue of poverty and its impacts on women and men.

8. Member States should, if necessary, revise the household unit measure used to determine income-poverty and to implement indicators in respect of women and poverty8. Member States should, if necessary, revise the household unit measure used to determine income-poverty and to implement indicators in respect of women and poverty as a tool to monitor the impact of broader social, economic and employment policies on women and poverty.

9. The EC should encourage Member States to guarantee a minimum income or other forms of support for all as a means of making a decisive impact on reducing income related poverty.

10. Member States should strengthen the aspects of security and quality of work while implementing the flexicurity principles, including through a review of the principles from a gender equality perspective and a greater promotion of gender equality in the social dialogue and in corporate social responsibility.

11. Members States should, if necessary, strengthen the role of national gender equality mechanisms, also through the allocation of adequate human and financial resources, to ensure increased awareness and full implementation of existing European gender equality legislation, in order to eliminate gender discrimination in the labour market.

12. Member States should emphasise the usefulness of mechanisms such as positive actions and promote gender equality plans negotiated among social partners at company and sectoral level, aimed also to guarantee flexible working arrangements and provide better work-life balance.

2. Enhancing reconciliation of work, private and family life

Need for more effective reconciliation policies

Care work is still unequally divided between women and men. Women are still taking on most of the care work and, at the same time, many women are in paid employment.

The double burden of paid work and unpaid work within the family, together with a possible lack of support care services, are some of the reasons behind the declining fertility rate in Europe and can be identified as one of the main barriers to women’s full participation in the labour market and decision making at all levels.

Maternity, Paternity, Parental and Family Leaves and flexible working patterns

Maternity, paternity, parental and family leave are effective measures, amongst others, to encourage the sharing of family caring responsibilities between women and men. However, barriers still exist which discourage their use. Women take up parental leave more than men and several studies show that men can be discouraged from utilising this right, due to women’s lower income and the persistence of gender stereotypes which can influence women and men’s behaviours and roles in caring responsibilities.

Recommendations for the EU 2020 on reconciliation policies

The EU 2020 needs to strengthen measures which enable women and particularly men to reconcile work, private and family life in a life-cycle approach.

1. The EC should encourage Member States to further develop a more egalitarian family and social model.

2. The EC should encourage Member States to further develop a new model of labour and employment relations and quality employment that facilitates the co-responsibility approach to reconciliation of private, family and working life.

3.The EC and Member States should strongly pursue and fulfil the targets on childcare established during the European Council in Barcelona in accordance with the timeframe.

4. The EC should encourage Member States to establish targets for affordable and quality care services for dependants other than young children.

5. Member States should adopt, as part of the measures aimed at reconciliation, legislation in relation to paid leaves (including maternity, paternity, adoptive, parental and accessible working hours for carers) and include strong measures to encourage men to share leave provisions.

6. The EC and Member States should elaborate instruments for employers and trade unions and other stakeholders and share good practices and knowledge, in order to promote family-friendly measures, flexible working patterns available to women and men in the labour market and appropriate measures to facilitate the return to work after a period devoted to private care.

7. The EC should encourage Member States to use resources of the European Structural Funds to fund care services and support for families of dependent persons.

8. The EC and Member States should undertake periodic awareness raising and, if appropriate, information campaigns, particularly addressed to men/fathers and to social partners to encourage the equal sharing of family responsibilities.

9. The EC and Member States should agree on a monitoring system of the actions undertaken in this field in order to guarantee the existence of comparative data at both EU and Member States level.

3. Promoting equal participation of women and men in decision-making

The unbalanced representation of women and men in decision-making positions is another issue of deep inequality. Despite some increase of women in decision-making positions, the under-representation of women in politics is a serious issue of democracy and fundamental rights. There is also a low proportion of women with leadership roles in politics, in public administration, in public and private enterprises, in the media and universities, in employers’ organisations, trade unions, etc. Although women are becoming more and more qualified, barriers that prevent the access to decision-making and political representation persist.

The number of female managers (directors, chief executives and managers of smaller enterprises) in the EU has remained stable over the last few years, at an average of 30%. The proportion of women directors of top quoted company boards is 3% across the EU, while only one in ten company board members is a woman. There are no female governors of the national Central Banks in the EU and women only account for 16% of the highest decision-making bodies of these institutions. The overall picture shows that, in most of the EU countries, women continue to be under-represented in decision-making positions and processes at all levels and in most fields. The EC and the Member States must, therefore, take concrete measures to ensure an equal representation of women and men in decision-making, both in economic and political decision-making.

Recommendations for the EU 2020 on equal participation of women and men in decision-making

The EC should implement positive action measures addressing the under-represented gender in any area and decision making level of European Institutions and Agencies, also introducing targets and a deadline for achieving them.

2. The EC should develop and support mentoring programmes, as well as confidence building, leadership and media relations training for women within the European civil service.

4. The EC should continue to support Member States' actions, also through the European Institute for Gender Equality, by collecting, analysing and disseminating comparable data on the persistent gaps and by promoting networking between all stakeholders and the exchange of experiences and good practices at European level.

5. The EC should encourage and Member States should support a greater participation and representation of women in all governing bodies and public appointments (including in the judiciary sector) and foster a greater participation and representation of women in political parties, in economic and social partnership, in corporate management, in executive and other positions of responsibility (including in the media) as well as undertake appropriate positive actions to remove obstacles to women’s participation.

4. Achieving equality between women and men in education and skills

The Lisbon Strategy focuses on an economic and social model generally known as the "knowledge society". However, gender differences and inequalities persist not only in terms of choice of subject and performances, but also in qualitative aspects of the education and training experience.

Education offers real opportunities to challenge inequalities. Primary and secondary education have an important role in achieving gender equality: it could challenge gender stereotypes that are related to the choice of education and discourage early school leaving. Moreover, teachers and trainers should be instructed in the practice of incorporating a gender equality perspective and the fight against gender stereotypes in education.

Recommendations for the EU 2020 on achieving equality between women and men in education and skills

1. The EC should not only promote the implementation and evaluation of existing EU gender equality legislation, but also propose and support its review and amendment, if necessary, in order to eliminate gender gaps in the areas of education and university systems and to ensure at least the same level of legal protection against gender-based discrimination as for discrimination based on race.

2. The EC and Member States should strengthen and implement specific actions aimed at ensuring women’s full equality in the education and university systems, as reaffirmed in the Lisbon Treaty, and encouraging women's choice of non-traditional fields of studies to enable them to increase access to all fields of skilled work and occupations.

3. The EC should define specific measures such as European guidelines to promote women’s participation in top management positions in scientific public research and support to the programmes for women’s mentoring in science, research and academia.

4. The EC and Member States should promote information and awareness raising campaigns on the importance of institutional leaders' roles in overcoming gender stereotypes in relation to the top positions in public research and at the universities.

5. The EC should put together best practice in relation to gender sensitive education material and curricula at all levels including for the training of teachers and should promote these across the Member States.

6. The EC should encourage Member States to adopt a gender mainstreaming approach to all areas of education including through specific awareness training in initial and continuous teaching training.

7. The EC should encourage Member States to ensure that life-long learning opportunities available to women (including those who have lost their jobs and those re-entering in the labour market) and that those opportunities include the development and recognition of broad pre-labour-market skills such as empowerment, capacity building, support systems and basic skills training (reading-writing, language and digital learning, including the internet).

8. The EC should encourage Member States to use a non sexist language at all levels, including educational material, curricula, professional qualifications, etc.

5. Addressing Equality between women and men in the framework of environment and sustainability

Restoring the territory's environment, working towards a sustainable future, promoting innovative environmental policies: the gender approach to these policies is still insufficient. It is still necessary to reiterate the fundamental role of women in the patterns of consumption, production and management of natural resources for sustainable development in order to preserve the quality of life and to avoid depopulation from rural areas for present and future generations. In fact, as affirmed in the Beijing Platform for Action, the harmonization of the relationship with the environmental issues such as biodiversity, sustainable development, prosperity and quality of life is part of the culture of gender difference (as protection, enhancement and strengthening of identity and diversity). Moreover, sustainability should address concerns about labour market participation, pension system and education.

There is very little measurement or evaluation of the gender dimension to commitment to environmental issues. There are no surveys describing:

 how and how much women are actively involved in the decision-making processes relating to the environment;

 how and how much their needs, concerns and opinions are integrated in the policies and programmes for sustainable development;

 in which area the different impact of development policies and environmental policies on women and men is assessed.

Recommendations for the EU 2020 on equality between women and men in the framework of environment and sustainability

1. The EC and Member States should increase the awareness about the contribution of gender equality policies and their links with the environment and systematically include a gender equality perspective in the definition, implementation and monitoring of environmental and local/regional development policies, including the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

2. The EC and Member States should ensure and reinforce balanced presence and participation of women and men in decision making structures in government appointed bodies and institutions which define and implement environmental policies.

3. The EC and Member States should consolidate their efforts in the policies concerning the development and promotion of female entrepreneurship in order to strengthen the production structures related to innovation and investing in the quality of life, continuous training, culture, preservation of land and environment (including female enterprises in agriculture) as well as in other sectors as tourism and care work to ensure adequate enhancement of the role of women in these areas.

4. The EC and Member States should promote the presence of women in training and in employment related to the environment (green jobs) and in promising environmental-friendly techniques including in sectors where women are traditionally less represented.

5. Member States should bridge the current under-representation of women in bodies and government at regional and local levels in the fields of environment and sustainability and build skills for implementing gender mainstreaming at these levels.

6. Member States should ensure that gender equality policies contribute to policies and measures to address climate change

6. Addressing the differential impact of the economic and financial downturn on women and men

The financial and economic downturn is likely to have a differential impact on women and men, given their different position within economic and social spheres. It seems also to have a differential impact among different groups of women and among different groups of men. So, it is important to ensure that, where women are differently affected compared to men, these It is also important to collect information on women’s entrepreneurial achievements during the financial crisis including innovative strategies and measures implemented Among the responses, it is necessary to consider two main levels of intervention: on the one hand, the possible different impact on women and men within the labour market and, on the other hand, the impact of the financial and economic crisis on policies directly or indirectly promoting gender equality, including in terms of public spending.

It should be noted that the unemployment rate measure does not necessarily capture the full impact of the changing economic conditions on both women and men, so the full range of relevant indicators should be highlighted.

In relation to public spending, the downturn is starting to cause reductions in tax revenues which may have an impact on several Member States’ budgets and may lead to reductions in public expenditure, in particular public services, such as education, training, health and social care. The crisis could constitute a chance to give gender equality policies new impulse, such as renewing the commitment to the equal treatment of women and men in the labour market, women’s access to decision making levels and an adequate development of caring services.

Recommendations for the EU 2020 regarding the differential impact of the economic and financial downturn on women and men

1. The EC should shape its forthcoming strategic framework to contribute to the creation of an economic sustainable development model which corresponds to a social model based on equality and equal opportunities between women and men.

2. The EC should take into account the differential impact of the crisis on women and men into the EU 2020 strategy, including the European Employment Strategy.

3. The EC and Member States should integrate a gender equality perspective into all policies in response to the crisis and periodically submit them to gender impact assessments, as a matter of good governance in the EU 2020 strategy

4. The EC and Member States should adopt relevant measures to ensure that progress achieved so far in the area of gender equality is sustained and developed during and post the economic and financial downturn.

Grace Attard

National Council of Women of Malta NCW

European Economic and Social Committee EESC












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