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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.
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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.
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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
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Gender Equality in the Media Sector
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Digital healthcare / health insurance
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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
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Plastics, human health and environmental impacts: The road ahead
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European Commission aims to significantly reduce the gender pay gap
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NCW Annual General Meeting 2019
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Work-life Balance
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Women on Boards: Vice-President Viviane Reding meets with leaders of Europe's business schools and i
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UfM adopts new project to support women’s empowerment in the Mediterranean
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MEUSAC Employment, Social Policy and Health  Sectoral Committee Meeting  22 April 2009

National Council of Women recommendations

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 92/85/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding COM(2008) 637 final – 2008/0193 (COD)

Comments and Recommendations

NCW supports the Commission's proposal for a new directive to improve the protection offered to pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth and/or are breastfeeding.

This initiative is an opportunity to strengthen legislation that not only enables women to recover adequately following confinement, but also encourages them to breastfeed and helps them to forge a strong bond with their newborn child.

Unsafe working conditions during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unacceptable and therefore women should be encouraged to make their pregnancy known as soon as they are aware of it so that any risk regarding health and safety can be assessed and eliminated. Special attention should be paid to risks to both women's and men's fertility, as well as for the embryo.

Mothers and infants with special needs or who find themselves in special circumstances, like premature, disabled or sick babies, multiple births or hospitalisation, as well as adoption and fostering, etc. should be given extra support.

NCW agrees with the Commission that a minimum paid maternity leave of 18 weeks should be guaranteed to all pregnant employees.  However, NCW believes that the Commission needs to consider the recommendation of the Social Platform , - including the European Women's Lobby -as well as those given by the WHO  and the UNICEF , which are based on the benefit for children to be exclusively breastfed during their first six months of life, as a health prevention measure for both mother and child. It therefore recommends seeking for additional legal and practical solutions, which, in terms of space and time, can facilitate breastfeeding.

On the other hand, sick leave during pregnancy should not have any impact on the whole duration of maternity leave, but urges the Commission to precise which exact period before confinement is meant.

NCW agrees with the suggestion that Member States should take the necessary measures to protect pregnant or breastfeeding workers, within the meaning of article 2  of the original directive, from consequences of unlawful dismissal.

NCW supports the right of women to return to employment, to the same or an equivalent post retaining the same terms and conditions, and to benefit from any improvements in working conditions to which they would have been entitled during the period of their absence.

NCW strongly supports payment during maternity leave be equal to the previous salary, or, at least, equivalent to sick pay.  This provision is not only a necessity, but also a way of recognising of the value of mothering.

NCW believes that the use of flexible working hours in conformity with the flexicurity common principles and lifecycle approach should be seen in the context of difficulties with the care needs of children under the age of two .

Maternity leave as a means to protect pregnancy and maternity has to be clearly distinguished from parental leave. The proposed period of 18 weeks aims primarily at enabling the recovery of women after giving birth and to ensure a minimum period of breastfeeding and bonding between the mother and the newborn child. The importance of parental leave as an opportunity for both parents to spend adequate time with their infants, should be highlighted, but  parental leave should be complementary to maternity leave -  not replacing it - and enabling fathers to benefit from this possibility as well.

NCW suggests that parental leave be considered transferable to grandparents and other close family members if working parents so wish and provided this is in the child's interest. Such a measure would help to address labour market needs and the shortage of childcare facilities.

The importance of a holistic and comprehensive approach to these matters, to see the whole picture and achieve economic and social progress is necessary. In this context, policy makers must consider different needs, competing values and conflicts of interest in the following issues:

- demographic issues (including low birth rate and fast growing number of pensioners);
- labour market needs;
- education and life long learning;
- equal opportunities for men and women;
- reconciliation of working, family and private life;
- accessible, affordable and high quality child care;
- active citizenship;
- solidarity between generations;
- fight poverty and social exclusion;
- and the best interest of the child .


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NCW believes that if the proposal aims to support reconciliation, maternity leave cannot be seen in isolation from the range of other existing instruments in the above mentioned areas.

The role of the social partners as main actors in the labour market is crucial in this respect. Civil society too has to take an active part in the process, both in ensuring that Member States are implementing the directive and in supporting by all means the above mentioned comprehensive approach.

NCW therefore urges the European institutions and the Member States to consider the necessity to take an integrated approach to this legislative proposal, and to avoid narrowing its scope and implications.

In the case of Malta, NCW believes that the Ministry for Social Policy through the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality should be consulted on the amendments of the above directive.

Although financial incentives to encourage mothers to return to work may serve to increase women's participation in the labour market, measures that will ensure addressing the needs of the family in such sensitive and delicate circumstances are extremely important and will in fact, also serve the same purpose. NCW strongly believes that the proposed amendments are also in the interests of the child giving the minimum time for bonding with the mother and breastfeeding.

NCW would also like to stress the importance of the father's role in these circumstances, which so far has not been given the importance it deserves. The father plays a crucial role in the emotional and psychological development of the child, boy or girl and in later years. The impact as  the child's first male figure it comes into contact with should also be acknowledged.

Finally NCW urges all stakeholders to ensure that the shortcomings stated in the Commission's report for 2008 Equality between Men and Women (2009) for Malta be immediately addressed


Grace Attard
NCW President

 
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