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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.

Report on Launch Conference on Violence against women across the EU
Abuse at home, work, in public and online
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

Grace Attard

The survey is based on interviews with 42,000 women from across the 28 Member States of the EU. It reveals that violence against women and more particularly gender-based violence disproportionately affects women, families, friends and society as a whole.

The survey asked women about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including incidents of intimate partner violence (domestic violence) and also asked about stalking, including through internet and mobile messages, sexual harassment, violence in childhood and fear of victimisation
The survey findings reveal that violence against women is an extensive but widely under-reported human rights abuse across the EU.

Overall extent and nature of violence against women including intimate partner violence.
About 8% of women have experienced physical and /or sexual violence in the last 12 months before the survey interview and one in three women has experienced some form of physical and /or sexual assault since the age of 15
One in 10 women has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, and one in 20 women have been raped since the age of 15. Of those women in the suvey who say they have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15, almost one in 10 indicate that more than one perpetrator was involved in the most serious incident
Of women who have been in a relationship with a man, 22% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence
Of women in the survey who indicate they have been raped by their current partner, about one third (31%) say they have experienced  six or more incidents of rape by their partner, Many have experienced several incidents of marital rape. Evidence shows that a significant number of women continue to be vulnerable in the aftermath of violent relationships.The survey results also show a relationship between a woman’s partner’s heavy alcohol abuse and increased violence. The findings show that repeat victimisation on many women’s lives is a particular characteristic of intimate partner violence

Consequences of physical and sexual violence against women including intimate partner violence
reporting rates of incidents of violence against women to the police and other  services are low (between one in three and one in four). Women experience several incidents of abuse by a partner before they decide to report, whereas non-partner violence reporting is more likely. In particular the findings reveal the victim’s lack of satisfaction with the police. The survey indicates that pregnant women  are vulnerable to violence. The survey shows that 87% of women would find it acceptable if doctors routinely ask about violence if patients exhibit certain injuries
Compared to the number of women who contacted healthcare survices as a result of violence, few women contacted victim support organisations or women’s shelters. About one in four victims of sexual asault by either a partner or a non-partner did not contact the police or any other organisation after a most serious incident because of feelings of shame and embarassment

Psychological partner violence against women
Psychological violence by partner sis widespread. The survey results show that two in five women (43%) have experienced some form of psychological voielence, either by a current or a previous partner. 25% have been belittled, 14% whose partner has threatened to hurt them physically and 5 % whose partner has forbidden them to leave the house or locked them up or taken away their car keys.Employers and Trade Unions should consider adopting awareness raising and related training activities for responsible personnel to help them identify and respond to the needs pof employees suffering from psycholigically controlling behaviour by partner

Experience of stalking
The findings show that one in five women have experienced some form of stalking since the age of 15. However one in four stalking cases reported in the survey never came to the attention of the police.

Internet and the social media
 Of victims of stalking 23% indicate in the survey that they had to change their email address or pohoine umber in respnse to the most serious incidents. The police need to investigate where cyberstalking plays a role

Vulnerabilities of professional women alongside other women
Between 64% and 75% of women in a professional capacity or in top management jobs have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime. One in 10 women have experienced inappropriate advances on social websites or have been subjected to emails or text messages (SMS), young women in particular.

Experiences of violence in childhood
The scale of childhood abuse and under-reporting
Just over one in 10 women (12%) has experienced some form of sexual abuse or incident by an adult before the age of 15. Some 27% of women have experienced some form of physical abuse in childhood  before the age of 15 at thehands of an adult.  In 97% of cases of sexual violence in chidlhood the perpetrator was male whereas in cases of physical violence only slightly more cases were attributed to men than to women

Ways forward
The study presents the EU and Member states with the most comprehensive EU-wide dataset on violence agaisnt women which can serve to inform policy responses and action based on the evidence of the findings themselves.

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provided the most recent studies carried out, following an earlier publication in June 2013. A summary of the key points of the CoE Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention ) was also highlighted duirng the Conference. So far only 4 Member States have ratified the Convention. It  requires the ratification of at least 10 member states before it can come into force, after the necessary amendments are made in national laws in harmony with the Convention. However, reservations on the most sensitive aspects of the Convention by Member States can reduce the overall impact of the Convention

The CoE Convention is the first European legally-binding instrument devoted to violence against women. The Istanbul Convention recognises female  genital mutilation (FGM) as a form of violence. Sanctions need to be effective, proportionate and dissuasive Justification of the basis of culture, religion or tradition may not be used in order to lessen the punishment

Although the EU has several directives and has carried out vast  research studies on violence against women, so far it has no binding instrument designed  specifically to protect women from violence. The topic falls under the competence of National Governments. Parliament has repeatedly called for a European Strategy to counter violence against women including a leglly binding instrument.

Recently, in its resolution of the 6 February 2013, Parliament called once again on the Commission to devise an EU strategy for tackling violence against women, which would include the drafting of a directive laying down minimum standards . Finally in Janaury 2014 the FEMM Committee adopted a legislative initiative report wih recommendations to the Commision on combating violence agaiant women ( rapporteur Antonjia Parvanova, ALDE,  Bulgaria)

The Conference was attended by representatives of governments of  Member States, a vast number of leading women and men working on gender equality in the EU and representatives of national governments and organisations of countries outside the EU

Useful websites
http://www.eprs.ep.parl.union.eu
http://epthinktank.eu
eprs@ep.europa.eu
Technical Report - http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/vaw-survey-technical-report
 http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/vaw-survey-results-at-a-glance
fra.europa.eu
E-learning course on Female genital mutilation (FGM): www.uefgm.org

 

 
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