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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.

Gender Equality…….are we set on mandatory targets?

 Gender equality, gender balance or gender gap frequently form part of debates, most often informed, ones, at European or national levels. Europe has been calling on Member States to ensure more female representation, and not simply in company board rooms. If we consider Denmark, it has only recently elected its first female Prime Minister even though it has long been a proponent of gender equality. Gender equality-related aspects are in fact being discussed during its current EU Presidency role. Further afield, a recent study found a marked absence of women in the foreign-policy community in the US, labelling Washington 'a city of men'. In today's society of diverse communities, where diverse ethnic groups or minorities call for representation, it is imperative that women also deserve proper representation not only in business but equally in politics, perhaps more so. Getting there is the perennial debate. Should Malta simply set gender quotas? I dare suggest that though this may well end up being deemed a necessary evil, in the long term it may not meet the objective, with efficacy. Of course, there is more than one system of quotas to be explored, even for electoral gender quotas. That aside, ultimately set percentages will be attained in the short term, if success is measured solely in terms of an increase in numbers. We do strive for much more than that though. The female voice counts for more than a reflection of the gender debate in itself – the female voice makes for a stronger and more just society and economy. The UK set gender targets for companies around this time last year. The call for 'radical change' in Britain's boardrooms did bring about steady progress, although the registered increase concerned large companies rather smaller ones. Nevertheless, I do believe we can draw from their year of 'chasing targets'. Norway introduced mandatory quotas some time ago and recent opinions differ as to its success in maintaining high percentages.The European Parliament is not immune to the debate either. It issues reports and co-legislates on gender-related issues yet it falls short of gender parity itself. Female MEPs account for 35% of its democratically elected members, but fewer still go on and make it to top positions in the Institution. Malta is the Member State with no female voice in the EP, a stark imbalance for sure. This is reflective of the gender imbalance in politics nationally, though it need not be the reason for lack of female representation by Malta at the European level, where economic and social debates are shaped not merely by political leanings but by both female and male decision-taking. The debate is not lost between political groupings in the EP, where even though the EP’s Women Committee has called for quotas for women in industry political views differ, with a UK Conservative MEP stating they denigrate the role of women in the workplace. What can we draw from all this? As I see it, in Malta we are more in a catching-up phase rather than lagging behind on gender imparity and not just in politics. Encouragingly it is certainly not a lack of skills or qualifications. Bridging gender imparity does necessitate cultural change other than reconciling family values with targeted and evolving measures. I do think that measures need to be geared towards structures that balance family and work such that women are not made to feel they have to make a choice, but rather that both women and men are taking up the opportunities available. We do need an array of initiatives to solve structural problems, and ones which therefore seek to encompass a broad strata of society so as to invest solidly from the bottom up, potentially therefore entailing a look into education for example from primary level. A mix of legislative and non-legislative measures are likely to be effective, at least for avoiding complacency. In any case priorities need to be identified.Female representation in decision-making positions is direly needed and in positions that serve the community, galvanising greater commitment on the debate and bringing in diverse and innovative ideas to the business or service. It is also for the contribution of women in society and to the economy that we need closer gender parity, not as token positions but to bring in experienced and skilled women at different levels and certainly up to top positions.With local council elections coming up the call for a sense of community has been made. Let the gender debate play an intrinsic part in entrusting a sense of community in our localities and not be a denial of influence. This could be taken as case example towards building a sound structure for the future.

If we could make one recommendation this month seeking delivery, could it be that a special advisor on women issues is merited in government?

Charmaine Hogan

 

 

 
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