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Human dignity should be respected at all times.
The National Council of Women would like to express its concern about the video posted online portraying men pelting a woman with eggs during a stag party. Human dignity should be respected at all times. As a society, we should condemn any type of abuse even if this is done by consent for financial gain.
OSCE/ODIHR anti-trafficking survey for survivors of trafficking in human beings
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has received numerous responses and has decided to extend the submission due date for the survey of survivors of human trafficking to Monday 26 August 2019.
NEW TASK FORCE AT EUROPOL TO TARGET THE MOST DANGEROUS CRIMINAL GROUPS INVOLVED IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING
On 2 July, the Joint Liaison Task Force Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings (JLT-MS) was launched at Europol. This new operational platform will allow liaison officers from all EU Member States to step up the fight against constantly adapting criminal networks.
Malta is EU country with highest rate of tertiary education graduates in employment
A report in the Independent states that Malta stood above the EU average in 2018 when it came to the employment rate of graduates aged 20-34 who had attained a tertiary level education within the previous three years,
European Commission
On 2 July 2019, Ursula von der Leyen was nominated by the European Council to the position of President of the European Commission; she will be the first women and the first German since Walter Hallstein
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.

 


The European Year Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010


The aim of the decision to designate 2010 as the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion is to contribute to the attainment the goal of making "a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty", which was established in the Lisbon Strategy and reaffirmed in the new European Social Agenda for 2005-2010.
The European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010 should reflect the EU 2020 Strategy geared towards social progress, the consolidation and sustainability of social protection systems and combating poverty, not least by preventing unequal distribution of wealth, thus creating an inclusive labour market thus ‘promoting  social cohesion as a factor in a stable and dynamic economy  to boost growth and productivity’

Measures relating to the Year need to concentrate on four objectives: (1) recognition that poor and socially excluded people are entitled to a dignified life and to participate in society, (2) ownership, i.e. all civil society stakeholders and NGOs and individual members of society taking joint responsibility for reducing poverty and marginalisation, (3) cohesion, the belief that maintaining social cohesion is in everyone's interest and (4) commitment, stressing the political will of the EU to treat combating poverty and social exclusion as a priority.

The protection and improvement of the quality of life of all Europeans are founded on their commitment that poverty and social marginalisation need to be dealt with effectively in the relatively affluent Europe. The events of the Year should reinforce this commitment of all social and economic strata.

The following issues and themes should be dealt with in the events of the Year:

• supporting modernised social policy as a truly productive factor capable of professional activation of all able-bodied people and social activation of all;
• modernisation of the European Social Model, broadly conceived, so that it can successfully address the new challenges in the areas of employment, social inclusion and combating poverty, and the social effects of globalisation, to maintain Europe as "a democratic, green, competitive, solidarity-based and socially inclusive welfare area for all [its] citizens …"
• the need for more effective policies directed at labour market integration of groups discriminated against or otherwise disadvantaged, in particular the working poor and people in precarious jobs
• the need for an open public debate and support for the direction of that modernisation toward activation to employment and social participation; if "the European Social Model is to be of value in the shaping of the European society of tomorrow, it has to be a dynamic model, open for challenge, change and reform" strong emphasis on local action, social partner, civil society involvement and encouragement as well as appreciation of civic activism, especially in combating poverty and social exclusion;
• the need for comprehensive approaches, reaching beyond traditional employment and social policies, toward economic, educational, regional, cultural, and infrastructural policies, especially in combating poverty and social exclusion;
• acknowledging and recognising that men and women experience poverty differently and that social policies should be crafted accordingly;
• the need for a more effective Open Method of Coordination at the European level in the area of combating poverty and social exclusion;
• placing action against poverty and social exclusion in the international context, especially by promoting basic rights at work and decent working standards throughout the world

During the Year, particular attention should be drawn to the following possible positive measures:

- the impact of the fight against undeclared work;
- active measures to help people back into work;
- investment in industrial activities and services that generate jobs and an assessment of potential negative or exacerbating impacts, including:
- the future economic growth, during and after the Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion;
- the energy and food situation of the most vulnerable communities or communities living in poverty or extreme poverty.

Specific measures

Employment of Older Workers men and women
Recommendations

- support for active ageing;
- the introduction of financial incentives for older workers, both in the policies of Member State governments and at companies which encourage older workers to stay on the labour market;
- the humanisation and improvement of working conditions (especially in the case of manual labour);
- the deployment of institutional solutions on the labour market to make it more flexible regarding the employment of older workers both men and women

Demographic change and its impact on the workforce and workload in the healthcare sector
Measures should be taken to make jobs in the health care sector more attractive to young people, so that later on, more of them enter the healthcare professions or look for jobs in the sector. If more young people, and more men, are to be encouraged to choose careers in healthcare, nursing care and social care, such employment must be made more attractive through better pay and working conditions throughout the whole of their career.

Integrating Young People in Society and Working Life

Employment
Recommendations
• for more effective initiatives for the reduction of youth unemployment – minimum of 50% in the period 2006-2010
• to reduce the number of early school leavers, increase access to initial vocational, secondary and higher education including apprenticeships and entrepreneurship training
• to speed up the development of frameworks to support the transparency of qualifications, their effective recognition and their validation of non-formal and informal learning
• to devise schemes for knowledge transfer so that older workers' skills and wide experience over many years can be passed on in such a way that younger people are happy to take "old" knowledge on board and make it a part of their "new" body of knowledge, both for their own benefit and the benefit of their company
• to improve measures to promote the social inclusion of young people, in particular to combat the problem of young people who are not in education, training, employment or registered as unemployed
• set targets to reduce the gender gap as regards vocational and technological training and wage differences at the time of recruitment
• promote the importance of foreign language competence in improving education and employment opportunities as well as mobility of young people
• foster young entrepreneurship by providing financial and technical support and providing the necessary measures for these initiatives at tertiary education level to encourage transferring and establishing of an enterprise

Active Participation of young people in Society
Recommendations
• the recognition of youth work activities including their contribution to voluntary work in a wide range of areas at different levels, that also make it possible for social welfare services to make them less costly
• that greater consideration is given to young people in disadvantaged situations who do not have access to high quality education, leisure facilities and access to information especially regarding opportunities.
• that the MCESD to become more involved in order to make it easier for young people to participate in national consultation procedures and to exchange best practices regarding the role of young people within their organisations and
• that Government to strengthen consultation structures with young people and their organisations on policies that affect them

An employability programme for early school leavers
Very often early school leavers who come from unstable socio-economic environments have illiteracy problems, a history of absenteeism and in many cases challenging behaviour.
• It is recommended that programmes providing employability skills should include personal and social development modules to develop self-esteem, responsibility, teamwork etc.
• An analysis with the participants of the profiles of the jobs on the market and identifying individual skills and competencies as well as constraints should be carried out in line with the EU ‘Future Skills for Future Jobs (see CEDEFOP)
• Specific areas of future labour market requirements should be targeted also from a gender perspective in response to the realities of the labour market, to encourage placements in the right jobs.
• Methods of participative learning and experiential learning away from classroom methods should also be used, besides work-related knowledge and skills. The programme should be extended to 9 (nine) months. Incentives such as ‘pocket money’ subject to set criteria would encourage more participation. Whilst the support of employers is necessary for a successful outcome, these programmes can be implemented in collaboration with NGOs, as is currently being done in the case of other age groups

Incentives to reduce undeclared work:
A comprehensive strategy to address the issue of undeclared work Undeclared work occurs throughout society, involving both employers and employees. It can basically be divided up into three groups.
• The first group is made up of businesses that engage systematically in
     undeclared work – often in combination with regular employment. Employees           often get their wages paid "under the counter".
• The second is made up of people with two or more jobs, one of which might be undeclared. This group is made up of well-educated employees, for example, who want to top up the salary they get from their usual job in the regular labour market with some extra money on the side.
• Finally, the third group is made up of unemployed workers who, for various reasons, are forced to work in the black economy because they are unable to secure employment in the regular labour market. This group is particularly vulnerable. They are often forced to work in poor conditions and for low pay. They are not generally covered by social security systems.

Some measures that need to be considered are:
• the creation of a legal and administrative environment which is favourable to the declaration of economic activity and employment, through simplifying procedures and by reducing the costs and constraints which limit the creation and development of businesses, in particular start-ups and small undertakings;
• strengthening incentives and removing disincentives to declare work on both the demand and the supply sides;

Further incentives to reduce undeclared work:
• Eg: Offering a negotiable package of benefits, assistance and obligations
• The setting up suitable employment policies vis-à-vis beneficiaries of social-protection measures will help them to participate in the regular labour market and will reduce the risk of unemployment and poverty traps by eliminating undesirable interactions between tax and benefits systems.

Gender Equality
Social Security and Pension reform to ensure adequate pensions entitlement for all eligible elderly persons
Social Security and Pensions should be designed in a way that do not penalize those who do unpaid care work and home care

While acknowledging the need to increase the retirement age to 65 years of age for both men and women, the contribution period increased to 40 years will impact negatively on women, due to gaps in their contribution record.

Also, with the increase up to 25 years or more in the years of study and consequently the delayed entry into the labour market for both men and women, the 40 year contribution period (up to 65 years of age) will not allow for flexibility to undertake periods of study, re-skilling and training

recommendations

• Measures such as accredited NI contributions for a period of unemployment for individuals who interrupt their registration to carry out temporary work should be extended to individuals, whether in full-time or in part-time employment who opt to undergo training during the period of unemployment. Such a scheme will also addresses the needs of women employees in transition as a result of family/child/elderly/disabled commitments.
• There is the need for a balance between financial incentives and family-friendly measures.
• The extension of maternity paid leave from 14 to 18/20 weeks, to be introduced gradually and the extension of parental leve including a number of weeks non-transferable eave. Government and social partners within the MCESD need to ensure that the necessary measures including amendments to the Industrial Regulations Act to extend the above maternity leave are in place)

Active Labour Market Policies
 Within the MCESD, the flexicurity debate should give more attention to gender differences. Gender equality has been largely absent from the flexicurity discussion.
 Despite the fact that more flexibility through part-time work are welcomed by the majority of women and men to ensure a better work-life balance, women are often at a disadvantage in the labour market in terms of flexibility and security, and upward convergence with men should be sought.
 The concept of productivity linked with diversity rather than number of hours of work both in the public and private sector should be explored
 This can be achieved by exploring alternative ways to achieve adaptability, facilitate lifelong learning, improve productivity and foster innovation, vital dimensions of the Lisbon process. Parental leave, part time work and teleworking are also part of a flexicurity concept contributing to security and flexibility for workers and employers.
 However, besides examples of good practice from EU member sates,  there is the need for training and responsibility both for the employer and the employees

Single Parents and work
Measures should aim at encouraging individuals to enter the labour market and not rely on social benefits.(active labour market policies) Empowerment through economic independence opens up opportunities for self fulfillment from which society as a whole will gain
We recommend incentives for the use of childcare facilities for single parents registering for part-time or full-time employment who opt to undergo a period of training or employability programme


Grace Attard
NCW President

 

 
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