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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.

National Council of Women proposals and comments for

Budget 2013 and forthcoming elections

NCW has been carrying out various studies in preparation for the Council’s contribution to Budget 2013 and forthcoming elections. The studies carried out include an analysis of the local situation in various fields and the sharing of good practice at EU level with different stakeholders including representatives of employers, Trade Unions and a wide range of NGOs.

This has been possible through the initiatives of European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) , where the Malta representative of Civil Society, Grace Attard is working on different areas, with special focus on: employment, gender equality and social policy in their contexts of the current financial crisis . This document is by no means exhaustive and NCW will go on monitoring the local situation and making other relevant proposals

Recommendations

Reaching agreement on the design and implementation by government and relevant stakeholders on strong Active Labour Market Policies is an effective key policy instrument to address economic growth and the pension system’s structural issues

Trends in the economic dependency ratio are far more important than demographic ratios for economic growth and in determining future funding requirements for pension provision. This requires strong measures for the creation of high quality jobs, with social security contributions which can address better the demographic challenges

Active Labour Market Policies include among others:

Making working longer attractive – a mix of policies and preventing unemployment and exclusion from the labour market, particularly of older people, from arising during recessions (through appropriate anti-cyclical demand management); increasing and improve opportunities to enter the labour market and job prospects for young people and those with poorer labour market prospects;

Managing population ageing to make full use of available employment potential through a targeted growth policy and by increasing the number of high-quality jobs with compulsory social security contributions and training in age management both by the public and private sector

Female Entrepreneurship

During the last 19 months NCW led an EU funded project entitled AMIE. During the several meetings, seminars and conferences held, a number of issues that female entrepreneurs encounter and that require addressing are- the age at which a female starts a business, which generally coincides with the same times as planning for a family , finances, family life balance, childcare, mentoring, assistance and fiscal incentives together with a One Stop Shop for female Entrepreneurs, as well as an Act similar to the Women Business Ownership Act .(WBO or H.R. 5050) NCW recommends that entrepreneurship is introduced to young students so as to aquaint themselves with this concept.

More female participation in the labour market.

Although the governmet has introduced several fiscal incentives and training opportunities to encourage women to enter the labour market, the take up , although substantial when compared to recent years , still leaves Malta with a female participation rate lower than the EU average..

 

Recommendations

The need to increase in the provision of accessible and affordable childcare facilities through Public-Private partnerships in other areas, in particular where access is difficult

The need for the launch of a national scheme for after-school services through public -private partnerships as another alternative, not necessarily depending on the use of school premises

Mandatory registration of all childcare centres and facilities to ensure standards are in place and to reduce parents’ lack of trust in these facilities. Currently 53 centres are registered and 15 are in the process or are not

Legislation and implementation measures for the provision of childminding

A comprehensive review of flexiblity and flexicurity measures in particular in the private sector to ensure that measures aim at adapting organisation of time to an individual's life cycle : youth, raising a family and old age

Legislation covering non-transferable parental leaveEvaluation of current and past financial incentives and family-friendly measures

Addressing the gender gap in Science and Technology

Recommendations

Changing the Practice of Research Grant Evaluations

Promoting Women Researchers through individual coaching, mentoring training in particular before application, preparation for interview

addressing barriers to access to PhD levels for women

Comprehensive assessment – combining quantity and quality in assessing excellence - evaluation by cross-disciplinary panels

Ensuring equality plans are in place

Creating linkages between university and Business to understand better in which areas they can collaborate to promote female researchers

Addressing undeclared work

Recommendations

Informal work deprives workers of their social protection and society as a whole of taxes and social security contributions. It tarnishes the image and perception of domestic work, making it a second-class job, which encourages stereotypes and drags the entire profession down. It also increases the likelihood of poverty

Introduce legal solutions, including provisions in the areas of tax, social insurance, labour law and civil law, increasing the motivation of households to employ registered domestic workers, and potential domestic workers to take on work based on a legal contract.

Draw up advice and recommendations for private individuals who are employers and the domestic workers they employ and make them commonly available. Promote information/training on the obligations and rights of employers and workers, especially where schemes exist to provide subsidies or tax deductions for employers.

 

Domestic Violence

Recommendations

Inter ministerial Action Plan for the early detection and prevention of domestic violence

Creating a bigger pool of professionals working in the field of domestic violence

Adequate funding and free specialisation of post graduate studies for professionals working in the field of domestic violence:

Social workers, psychologists to have specialised training in working specifically and separately with men, women or children either as victims or witnesses of domestic violence

Setting up the necessary mechanisms to follow-up cases of separation of couples who are at risk of domestic violence. A study of the risks of continued domestic violence after separation needs to be carried out

Adequate programmes for the police force as key elements in reducing and eliminating domestic violence

Prevention and awareness raising programmes of domestic violence through campaigns for youth

Reducing the rate of early school leavers

Recommendations

Ensuring current strategies to address the high rate of school leavers are reflected in realistic and effective targets (reducing number of early school leavers) and deadlines NRP 2012 targets are still too high; reducing the rates of early school leavers up to 29% by 2020 is still very high. With the recent measures in the Education Department, MCAST, ETC and ITS, the percentages of early school leavers should be much less.. There is the need to review the most recent figures

Towards a stronger workforce for Health

Recommendations

Addressing the challenges of demography

Public Health Capacity

Training

Data to support decision-making

The impact of new technology: improving the efficiency of the health workforce

Ensuring that healthcare services to be more accessible;

service quality and more cost-intensive treatments;

the outbreak and potential of epidemic diseases, and

local availability of healthcare

preventive and curative healthcare as both have an economic component

making jobs in the health care sector more attractive to young people

Addressing the needs of migrant women

To carry out studies on the potential of women migrants to the economy

To monitor migrant women in undeclared work

To offer training in employability skills

Women in political decision-making

In Malta women are still under represented in political decision making assemblies. With the forthcoming Local Council elections and later General Election, NCW Malta urges political parties to rethink their strategies and adopt action plans for recruiting an equal number of women & men as candidates for ‘winnable seats’ and in general, for making party politics more inclusive.

Recommendations

NCW welcomes the steps taken by political parties to improve the participation of women in decision-making with an increase, albeit small, of a number of women in their decision-making structures.

The principle of capitalising on the potential of all individuals (over 50% women) in decision-making should be the foundation for any decisions to be taken in the immediate future

The next steps to be taken political parties is to introduce more concrete measures to ensure a mass of at least 30% participation of women, as required to be realistically effective in the decision making process of our political system

Due to the short time available for elections, Government and political parties should immediately reach agreement within their decision-making internal structures and make public the measures they are to take to comply with the above recommendations for elections 2012-2013

Political Parties and Government need to study and explain clearly what gender quota measures are, as misconceptions in society give the impression that meritocracy is not a priority

Explicit rules about the implementation of gender quotas such as rank-ordering rules, legal sanctions for non-compliance (legislated quotas) and a ‘contract’ with the local party organisations (voluntary party quotas) are needed in the short to medium term

Finally the incoming new government should ensure prioritizing the issue of women in decision-making both legally and through innovative measures by placing this issue on the agenda for a serious debate in the House of Representatives resulting in a National Action Plan to include decision-making in all areas: political, economic and legal spheres at different levels

Pensions Reform

Recommendations

Reaching agreement on the design and implementation by government and relevant stakeholders on strong Active Labour Market Policies is an effective key policy instrument to address the pension system’s structural issues and should not be underestimated

Specific comments on pension reform address:

NCW agrees that further reform of the Invalidity pension system system by the Department of Social Security and also that a similar scheme be extended to the Disability pension (while ensuring the necessary support: reskilling and psychological etc)

Strengthening Community Care Support: Study the possibility of a pension system to offset the economic impact related to ageing through the introduction of contributions to persons who take care of elderly or long term sick persons, especially those who opt out of the labour market to carry out these duties

Increase in pensionable age for entitlement to a non-contributory Old Age Pension needs careful study before implementation to ensure there is no risk of poverty in the proposed changes. 21B NCW agrees with the proposed mechanism to be sensitive to old age sickness or diseases

The introduction of incrementally entitlement to full pension in the case of the surviving female spouse who would have contributed to the said pension though her role as a home carer throughout her life

NCW agrees that the widow’s pension should not be forfeited if the said widow has dependent children over 21 works and earns an income from a gainful activity that exceeds the yearly average minimum wage

The need to amend the Social Security Act with regards to persons who have a gap in work of five years due to following higher education to be allowed to fill those gaps according to the date of application

The need to adopt appropriate legislation with regards to divorced or cohabiting partners to safeguard their interests and protect their pension rights

NCW believes that in depth expertise study should be carried out , together with proper training for public officers, in particular and financial literacy training for the public prior to the introduction of the Mandatory Second Pension Scheme . NCW also agrees with the time frames and mechanisms proposed by the PWG regarding implementation after an intensive preparation for all sectors including the general public. Examples of successful programmes in EU countries should be sought and adopted to the needs of the Maltese population patterns

NCW agrees that given the state of the economy, in particular in the eurozone, introducing the necessary instruments for a Voluntary Third Pension Scheme can be set up prior to the introduction of the Mandatory Second Pension Scheme. NCW agrees that there should be provision of the necessary measures for persons to be able to migrate into the Mandatory second pension scheme without having to pay an additional saving contribution

This year is the EU Year for Active Ageing. Volunteers are a dynamic resource that work tirelessly in their respective sectors. In a recent EU funded Flagship project it was established that the work that volunteers do would run into hundreds of thousands of euro, if this was to be paid for. NCW feels that although a person has reached the young age of 60, there is still a great deal of contribution that he or she can give. Having recently been elected on MCESD Civil Soiety Committee, NCW feels that social issues can be discussed at a high level.

Mary Gaerty, NCW President

Grace Attard, NCW, EESC

 

 
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