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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: 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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