Photo: progress has been made in terms of women's working conditions, but gender equality remains high on the agenda
On 3 October, the European Parliament has adopted a report on women’s economic empowerment in the private and public sectors in the EU. CEC European Managers welcomes the resolution as an important impetus for more gender equality, a process which has clearly stalled in recent years. Despite a small increase in women labour market participation, the gender pay gap remains at around 16% while most Member States have missed the Barcelona targets for childcare infrastructure, among other objectives.
The report, presented by MEP Anna Hedh (S&D) in Strabourg, contains a series of recommendations concerning work-life balance, gender equality and social partner agreements. The recommendations complement an earlier motion for improving work-life balance which has led to the subsequent publication of legislative and non-legislative proposals by the European Commission in its communication “an initiative to support Work-Life Balance for Working Parents and Carers”. The initiative is the result of European social partner consultations to which CEC European Managers had participated in 2016.
The combination of adequate public infrastructure, gender equality programmes, labour market permeability and supportive workplace measures represents a promising mix of solutions to fight gender inequalities in Europe. However, as the report notes, significant improvements need to be implemented at EU and Member States levels. Besides women’s fundamental rights, there is also a strong economic argument for women participation in the labour market: the EU GDP per capita could increase by between 6.1 % and 9.6 % by 2050, according to the European Institute for Gender Equality.
Among others, the report calls to:
- Introduce binding pay transparency measures;
- Introduce quotas for underperforming public services;
- Strengthen women’s protection against discrimination and unfair dismissals;
- Promote the individualisation of the right to leave arrangements;
- Invest in social infrastructure (e.g. childcare facilities) and informal after-school facilities;
- Facilitate labour market transitions and reintegration (e.g. after pregnancy or care leave);
- Include gender mainstreaming in national skill strategies, labour market policies and the European Semester;
- Negotiate gender equality plans at company and sectoral level;
- Facilitate access to education (ICT and STEM subjects) and loans;
- Develop a European framework for job evaluation tools and an anonymised Europass CV;
- Adopt the directive on gender balance among non-executive directors of listed companies and ratify the Istanbul Convention on violence against women.
Please find following documents below: