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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.

Responding to Domestic Violence: a day-to-day commitment

Domestic violence by men against women, whether physical or psychological, is one of the gravest violations of human rights: the right to life and to physical and psychological integrity. Its consequences are devastating resulting in mental as well as physical and psychological problems. It is widespread at all levels of society.

 

Domestic violence is a criminal act in all forms of intimate relationships and not just in marriage. It is not a sickness although its incidence can be increased and aggravated as a result of abuse of alcohol intake and a number of mental health conditions. It affects not only the victims themselves, but also other family members, especially children. However, awareness of children as indirect victims of domestic violence is still limited. Although there have been situations of violence by women against men the highest rates (over 80%) reveal that the perpetrators are men. Unfortunately aggressive incidents of violence often resulting in brutal deaths as a result of domestic problems reported regularly in the local media are hardly linked to domestic violence.

 

According to studies carried out by the Council of Europe it is estimated that the annual cost of violence against women in Council of Europe member states is as high as 34 billion euros each year, while domestic violence alone costs EU member states 16 billion euros each year. In the European Union 20%-25% of women suffer physical violence in their adult life and over 10% are the victims of sexual violence. It is deemed that every fifth women has been subject to domestic violence and in certain cases even in leading to death by their partners or ex partners. Furthermore, another form of violence is sexual harassment which occurs at the workplace or in other institutions. NCW believes that there is the need to give greater attention of the most vulnerable women in our society including those unemployed, low wage earners and not least female offenders who have experienced domestic violence and who are serving a sentence in prison. Addressing the issue of the increase of violence on TV/Internet, addressing violence in relationships of teenagers/young couples is also a priority

In the case of prostitution, more than half of the women have been raped or sexually assaulted by their pimps. Parallel reality is that of trafficking in women which is also directed associated to prostitution. Women and girls are being trafficked for sexual exploitation in most member states which are either countries of origin or act as transit or destination of trafficking in human beings.

According to a survey conducted recently by EuroBarometer which monitored the evolution of public opinion on domestic violence throughout EU countries, 77% of the Maltese population believe that domestic violence is widespread on the island, believing that sexual and physical abuse are the worst. Nonetheless, psychological abuse also featured high on the list. The study also revealed that public awareness has increased from 94% in 1999 to 98% in the year 2001. There has also been an increase in the cases which were reported by 25% in 2009 over 2008. This is the result of increased awareness whereby women's social and financial independence are motivating them to report the abuse.

 

NCW recognizes the important work that is being done through shelters for victims and their families, especially in their efforts to assist victims to come out of the trauma and to reintegrate them in society. However the Council believes that all legal aspects should be explored to strengthen current legislation in areas where there are weaknesses, such as with regards to eviction of perpetrator from the home and domestic violence on children as victims or witnesses.

NCW supports the work that is being done by the National Commission on Domestic Violence and fully supports an integrated, multidisciplenary approach, focusing more on prevention and early detection as our Council has been recommending for the past years. A successful integrated approach requires adequate and professional training in different sectors such as in the Health Services: professionals in hospital emergency department, primary care in particular the general practitioner, pregnancy and childbirth services including gaenecologists, midwives, nurses who often are in a position to detect early signs of violence. Training for members of the Police Force should be ongoing, with focus on dealing with cases of domestic violence as a criminal act and not simply as a family matter that can be patched up, in particular at the earliest stages of reporting. There is the need to increase the number of professionals in Social Welfare Services with specialized and focused training when dealing with women victims, children, elderly victims or relatives. Currently professionals who are interested in specialization have to do so at their own expense.

 

Although there is access to free legal aid in cases where victims are not economically independent, there is the need to ensure that the number of legal advisors who will be state remunerated is adequate to meet the dire needs of clients and to help to reduce the waiting time for court proceedings to start and to be brought to an end

 

More consideration needs to be given in family court proceedings to the risks associated with domestic violence, in particular the high probability that the risk of violence will not end once the couple has separated and therefore follow-up services after separation need to be provided. Measures should also include follow up of victims in the workplace during this process and after.

Violence Against Women is one of the three priorities of the European Commission as set out in its programme for the follow-up to the Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men (2010-2015). Raising awareness of domestic violence is not a one day event some time in November; it needs to be addressed through coordinated efforts on a daily basis

Grace Attard, President, National Council of Women

 

 

 
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