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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.
6 August 2008

The flexicurity concept should enhance both flexibility and security in a balanced way. While recognising that a job for life no longer exists, strategies need to shift from job security to employment security both in the public and private sector.

European Social Partners recognise that in today’s labour market it is necessary to improve policy measures which address both the flexibility and security dimensions for workers and employers alike.

The setting up of an ad hoc group to study the basis for adopting the flexibility approach, suitable to the Maltese labour market situation and that can create a win-win situation for employers and employees is therefore timely.

Within the Public Service, Malta has already introduced a number of flexicurity measures that emanate from the flexibility concept, in particular with regards social protection systems, efficient public employment, quality of education and affordable and quality care services and family friendly measures. However there is the need for a holistic approach that would guarantee competitiveness and security in balanced manner

NCW Proposals


Strengthening social dialogue
The MCESD which provides a platform for organising the collective voices for workers and employers plays a crucial role in ensuring an effective social dialogue, by setting references to:
  • Quality of work and fair working conditions, promoting the health and well-being of workers and reconciling working and non-working life.
  • Contributions to social peace and social cohesion
  • Wage policies set up by the social partners and with real wage developments consistent with productivity growth
  • Access to lifelong learning
  • Effective social dialogue should aim at increasing the adaptability of workers and employers and combine a high level of competitiveness for employers with the creation of a good working environment for workers
  • A stable legal framework for collective bargaining and social dialogue at all levels for a negotiated balance between flexibility and security to improve the smooth functioning of the labour market and the adaptability of enterprises and workers.

High Quality Public Service
High Quality Public Service plays a crucial role in the development of effective labour market and competitive policies.

Efficient and sustainable social protection systems

  • A welfare system able to guarantee high levels of social protection and adequately funded public services.
  • The process of the pensions reform currently underway should strengthen, both the first and the second pillar measures and proposals to ensure security for workers in different types of work, including part-time work and current forms of flexible work arrangements that can lead to precarious work.
  • This should also take into consideration the end-of-work phase of the individual’s life cycle and therefore guarantee adequate pensions entitlement
Flexicurity and the gender dimension
  • Within the MCESD, the flexicurity debate should give more attention to gender differences. Despite the fact that more flexibility through part-time work are welcomed by the majority of women and men to ensure a better work-life balance, women are often at a disadvantage in the labour market in terms of flexibility and security.
  • Gender impact assessments should be carried out to ensure that Collective agreements in the context of new forms of work agreements do not impact negatively on female workers and employees, which should also be backed by a legal framework.
  • Labour Law and contractual agreements, facilitating access to the labour market and the transition into rewarding jobs should ensure the gender dimension in social protection systems
  • Exploring alternative ways to achieve adaptability, facilitate lifelong learning, improve productivity and foster innovation
  • Current policies regarding parental leave, part time work and teleworking which are also part of a flexicurity concept contributing to security and flexibility for men and women workers and employers need to be carefully monitored and evaluated.
Flexicurity and the generational dimension
The challenges of globalisation, climate change and technologial change and an ageing society require also an increase in policies to address the adaptability of older workers.

  • There is the need to provide easier access to the labour market through incentives, such as work time frames, retraining and on-the-job training that are not necessarily financial. The employment rate is lower among older workers compared to the workforce in general.
  • Young people face an uncertain labour market with high unemployment, fixed term contracts, insufficient social security coverage and work below their qualifications
  • Reference should be made to the Communication from the Commission concerning youth– Addressing the concerns of young people in Europe – Implementing the European Youth Pact and promoting active citizenship
    COM(2005) 206 final (refer also to the EESC opinion SOC/208 Youth Policy

Flexicurity and SMEs
Proposed policies in the Pre-Budget 2009 document, aiming to create a better and more supportive business environment that stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation with particular focus on SMEs need to be translated into measures that can be realistically implemented locally. (Chapter Two: Supporting Enterprise and Job Creation )
While current measures addressing the needs of SMEs are producing positive results,
flexicurity is of particular importance in the light of their significance in employment terms. Policies in relation to flexicurity, will have to contain provisions safeguarding the needs of SMEs and their employees.  
  • Nurturing a national entrepreneurial mindset through the National Curriculum at all levels of education for both women and men to encourage risk-taking, innovation and opting for non-traditional choices
  • Ensuring that the specific needs of women entrepreneurs are addressed to increase their participation in economic activity
  • Strengthening the innovation capacity of SMEs by facilitating access to technology and finance, providing  innovative support services
  • Improve the availability, access (meeting the needs of working mothers) and quality  of adequate training offers for individuals both women and men and employers, taking into account the needs of SMEs
  • Ensuring effective and full use of Community instruments, either for the development of regional infrastructures or to support transitions in sectors affected by structural changes through the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in particular in the Tourism and Manufacturing Industry
  • Making better use of the EIB in taking part of the risk on the SMEs and to look at ways in which banks in Malta can still further boost the support they provide to SMEs, in particular those run by women, as outlined in the European Commission’s Small Business Act 2008

Active labour market policies and education and training
To achieve a well functioning labour market, the interaction of the ALMP with well-designed unemployment benefits with rights and obligations for the unemployed is of particular importance to facilitate reintegration into work
  • Internal flexibility can play a key role in advancing productivity, innovation and competitiveness, and can thus contribute to reaching the goals of the Lisbon strategy.
  • Functional flexibility that is using workers' capacity to perform different tasks when needed, through job rotation, widening the scope of the job, and job enrichment. can benefit companies by enabling them to adjust the type of activities workers perform to fluctuations in demand  and to more productively utilise human resources and capital investments.
  • Working time flexibility needs be established by collective agreements and by law over a longer time period, by making use of overtime, the flexible scheduling of working hours over predefined time frames, shift work, etc. In this way working time flexibility can strengthen productivity and competitiveness, whilst ensuring that employees' protection is taken into account which can otherwise lead to bad working conditions or precarious work
  • Effective and high quality active labour market policies, investing in people and helping them address change in a productive way are crucial for the adaptability and security of both firms and employees. In today’s labour market, it is even more necessary to make sure people possess the necessary skills and capacities to adapt to changes and enter and remain  in the labour market and to grasp new employment opportunities. (internal/occupational mobility)
  • Another element to improve employability is the promotion and access to lifelong learning, ensuring the employability of workers by improving competencies and qualifications for women and men. The education and training systems need to be better adapted to the needs of the individual and the labour market
  • Enhancing external flexibility measures for those without a job to penetrate and sustain themselves within the labour market, help alleviate poverty and social exclusion and reduce undeclared work. These include vocational training, facilitating employment for single mothers, addressing the high levels of early school leavers and low skilled workers.
  • Social benefits systems should be designed in such a manner not to disincentivise the inactive from entering the labour maket , while addressing social cohesion
  • Undeclared work places workers in insecure working conditions and undermines the financing of social protection and tax systems Fiscal incentives, among others to encourage individuals in undeclared work to regulate their position in the labour market requires particular attention
  • Also measures addressing activities by employers who make use of illegal methods of employment, which often lead to precarious work
  • Promoting the concept of diversity at work with regards to both human capital  and work should be ongoing

 
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