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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.

Margot Wallström Vice-President of the European Commission Speech for International Women's Day 2009

Committee on Women's rights and Gender Equality, European Parliament
Brussels, Thursday 5 March 2009

President Pöttering,

Madam Chairperson

Honourable Members,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to be with you to celebrate International Women's Day. This is a very special year because in June, 375 million citizens will choose their candidates in the EP elections.

In Europe, 52% of the population are women. Nevertheless, men are predominant in national parliaments and in national governments. For me, as for many of you, ensuring that women are equally represented where the decisions are taken is a matter of democracy.

Today, I would like to address three questions:

What does it mean to be a woman in Europe today?

What is Europe doing for women?

What can women do for themselves and for Europe?

Let me first give you a few illustrations of what it means to be a European woman today. Let's start with 22 year old Ineta, a student of mathematics at the University of Riga. Her biggest dilemma is whether to accept a job offer from a Latvian IT company or to finish her Master's degree in Paris.

Ineta is fortunate. Still, she cannot expect to make as much money as her boyfriend. Women in Europe today are paid, on average, some 16 per cent less than men for doing exactly the same job. In Estonia, the wage gap would be over 25 per cent!

The wage gap between men and women in Europe is closing so slowly that it will take another 100 years before everyone is paid the same money for the same job! And yet, equal pay for work of equal value is a right enshrined in the EC Treaty!

Let's take another example. In 2006, Ilona, a 26-year-old Hungarian blue collar worker, applied for a job at a small company. Much to her regret, she was told that she was not eligible as only men were hired for this particular job. Instead, she was offered a cleaning job, which would have paid significantly less.

The Hungarian Equal Treatment Authority passed a decision in favour of Ilona. The company paid a small fine. Ilona herself, however, did not get any compensation, but when the company opened a new plant, she received the job for which she had originally applied.

In Germany, 36 year old Louise chose to give up her job at a PR consultancy when she started a family. Someone had to be there for the children – most German schools finish around noon – and Louise does not have her parents nearby to lend a hand. So she works at home as a freelance consultant.

There are millions of women in Louise´s situation all over Europe. You would think that European societies would welcome and reward childbearing, especially as our population is ageing fast. But most of our societies do not reward motherhood.

The truth is that for women it is always a difficult juggle between private and professional life. Childbearing is still a disadvantage for many women who want to make use of their skills on the labour market.

When the time comes for Ineta, Ilona and Louise to retire, they will have lower pensions than men. Also, statistically, one of these three women will suffer physical or sexual violence in a relationship – and many continue to suffer violence from their former partner even after the break-up.

So, to paraphrase Simone de Beauvoir, "This is still a man's world".

My second question is, what are European policy-makers and legislators doing about these issues?

I honestly believe that Europe is doing a lot for women. Gender discrimination is banned both in the EU Treaty and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights! Since the 1970s, European laws have expanded women's choices and improved their lives. The proportion of women at work has risen steadily. Girls make up 59 % of the university graduates in Europe.

The Commission has proposed legislation to reinforce the right to maternity leave and we have recommended action to provide more and better childcare facilities. Social partners are considering improvements to the parental leave directive and the Parliament will vote on these texts in May.

The new European Institute for Gender Equality will contribute to disseminate gender knowledge and raise public awareness of gender issues.

The EU's Daphne III programme helps local authorities and NGOs to combat all forms of violence, including domestic violence, and protect the victims.

The EU has good legislation and good programmes; but is this enough or should this be expanded? Can we really say that the views of women are fully taken into account ?

Let me come now to my third and final question: what can women do for themselves and for Europe.

Women in Europe have had, for decades now, the right to vote and to stand for election – but we had to fight hard for those rights. The first country where this victory was won, in 1906, was Finland, which (to its credit) granted these rights to all women regardless of wealth, race or social class.

The struggle lasted longer elsewhere. Much progress has been made since old times. We think we've come a long way since then, don't we? But still today, in the governments and parliaments of the EU's 27 Member States, less than a quarter of the ministers and MPs are women.

What about women in the European institutions? This year is the 30th anniversary of the first direct elections to the European Parliament – yet still today only about a third of MEPs are women. In those thirty years there have only been two female presidents of the European Parliament, and there has never been a woman President of the European Commission!

The current Commission has actually set a new record in female representation – but we are still only 10 out of 27.

Can we speak of "representative democracy" in Europe when one half of the population is seriously under-represented?

I am not arguing here for some romantic notion that women are "better people" or better decision-makers. If women are not equally represented at the policy-making tables, the policy agenda will be set by men - and we loose out on the knowledge experience and ideas that women have.

The problems facing Ineta, Ilona, Louise and any other woman in Europe would be tackled with greater energy and commitment – and quicker ! - if there were equal numbers of women and men around Europe's legislative and policy-making tables.

We need gender equality in European democracy.

Europe's political parties must increase the number of women candidates for election. Ideally I would like to see an equal number of male and female candidates in each party, in every EU country. It's true that the situation differs from country to country, in cultural and legal terms. But even where the legislation does not provide for quota or "zip lists", political pressure on European and national political parties can give some results.

There is no lack of good female candidates, but the reality and the historical experience in our Member States is that men tend to choose men.

We also need to encourage women to vote and enhance gender balance in the European Parliament. That's what the European Women's Lobby is doing through its cross-party and pan-European campaign for "50/50 Democracy". It is an important campaign: Simone Veil, Mary Robinson, Ursula Plassnik, Bibiana Aido, the President and many of my fellow Commissioners and many more, men and women, have signed up already. You can join them in actively supporting it!

Ladies, fellow women citizens of Europe: it is not up to the European institutions alone to raise awareness of the elections and to campaign for gender parity. I am so pleased to see representatives of the national parliaments with us today and so many organisations.

It is up to each and every person in this room today to encourage citizens to use their vote and to stand up for gender parity in Parliament, in the next Commission and among the future EU top posts, if, as we hope, the new treaty will be ratified.

Each of us can make a difference. Each of us can explain why the EU matters for women and men and argue that women's voices must also count in Europe.

Today, the Commission is launching an interactive debate on Women and Elections on our "Debate Europe" web-site. The debate will run until the 25 March and I hope many of you will take part and will bring the debate in the streets and squares of Europe.

Mr President, Madam Chairperson, Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, we are focusing on Europe. But women's rights are at stake everywhere. On 7 and 8 March, I will take part in the International Colloquium on Women Leadership, Empowerment, Peace and Security, organised in Monrovia by the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the President of Finland Tarja Halonen.

Let me quote Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

"Half, even more than half, of ‘the people’ are women. Yet for far too long, women’s will, women’s voices, women’s interests, priorities, and needs have not been heard, have not determined who governs, have not guided how they govern, and to what ends. Since women are amongst the least powerful of citizens, with the fewest social and economic resources on which to build political power, special efforts are often needed to elicit and amplify their voice"

The time to act is now.

Let's make these elections a true opportunity for enhancing gender equality in European democracy.

Thank you for being here and thank you for listening!

 
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