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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.

Maternity, paternity leave – the other side of the coin

Recent comments (Wednesday 16 June 2010) on the report of a study carried out regarding the costs of maternity and paternity leave need to address the issue through a wider perspective

One needs to clarify that the primary aim of the controversial Directive 92/85 EEC on maternity leave is to introduce measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding. The second aim is to pave the way for a sharing of family care and work responsibilities for both men and women.

In fact, for the first time, EU Gender Equality legislation is providing a legal basis for an integrated approach to maternity and parental leave. Recent developments show that European law is evolving from a traditional approach to maternity issues towards an approach that also incorporates paternity issues and, more broadly, the matters regarding the reconciliation of family and working life in all types of work

There is the need to avoid narrowing its scope and implications; consequently, the importance of a holistic and comprehensive approach to these matters, to see the whole picture and achieve economic and social progress is a priority. In this context, policy makers must consider different needs, competing values and conflicts of interest in issues such as demographic issues (including low birth rate and fast growing number of pensioners); labour market needs; accessible and affordable childcare facilities; reconciliation of working, family and private life; the fight against poverty and social exclusion; the best interest of the child; equal opportunities for women and men; solidarity between generations and education and lifelong learning

Keeping women in the labour market is a priority. Many women leave the labour market because of difficulties in reconciling work and domestic responsibilities. Labour market inequalities make it rational for many women, rather than their male partners, to give up employment to care for children or others. Longer spells of unemployment to reconcile work and maternity can have negative consequences for experience, skills and motivation for re-entry into the labour market.

In the EU, The employment rate of women with dependent children is only 65% compared to 91,7% for men.. This can lead to less women returning to the labour market after having a child. The EU employment policy promotes a life-cycle approach to work, acknowledging that workers have different needs and priorities at different stage of their lives. The gap between women and men with dependent children is also high (19 %).

European social partners, the counterparts of our social partners are seeking ways of addressing these challenges through medium and long term measures through the recent Framework Agreement on Parental Leave, which was signed by the European social partners (BUSINESSEUROPE, ETUC, CEEP and UEAPME) on 18 June 2009; in fact the revised Directive 2010/18/EU is based on this agreement, providing for better protection against discrimination and a smoother return to work.

Developments are also addressing the needs of self-employed workers. We are all aware that SMEs, in the EU and in Malta are the backbone of our economy. The recent adoption of the Directive on Self-employed Workers and Assisting Spouses endorsed by EU governments Brussels (7 June 2010) improves the social protection rights of millions of women in the labour market, boosting female entrepreneurship.

An innovative approach to the family-friendly issues geared towards economic growth and competitieness has been clearly identified as a priority in the EU 2020 Strategy, and more recently in the first phase of the revised Commission Working Time Directive not least as a result of current studies on the recession resulting from male-dominated decisions

In line with these developments, there is the need for a national policy, a package of family-friendly measures for both the public and private sector whilst taking into consideration the situation of SMEs. This will ensure a level playing field in the sharing of costs and benefits for maternity and paternity leave by both private and public sector, offering opportunities for an increase in employment rates. It is undemocratic today to repeatedly come across statements saying that extending maternity leave will be counter productive to female employment. We need to ensure that adequate conditions are created in order to prevent any new forms of discrimination from arising.

.Malta also needs to urgently put in place legislation on temping agencies, in particular to address human resources needs during maternity and paternity leave and start thinking of employing foreigners when we have exhausted the Maltese potential. Raising the employment rate of women is a priority, not least because Malta is committed to the EU 2020 targets of 75% male and female employment. Social protection measures through state social security systems together with non-financial incentives are necessary to reduce the costs on the business sector in order to remain competitive.

The private sector needs to be proactive and innovative. Increasing the participation rate of both men and women is a reality we have to face in the interest of parents, children, society by all stakeholders, including government. The challenge for the future is to ensure the competitive edge for which we are all working - to seek win-win solutions rather than remain stuck in outdated counterproductive employment policies

Grace Attard

President NCW

 
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