Contribution from the European Women’s Lobby to the European Spring Council of 13-14 March 2008

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) wishes to highlight some of the discrepancies in the Lisbon Strategy as the core EU socio-economic political framework, and in so doing demonstrate that the EU’s falls short of its Treaty commitments to promote true equality between women and men.

In light of the crucial importance of the Lisbon Strategy on Growth and Jobs as a generator of social well-being (Jobs and Social Inclusion) and economic competitiveness (Growth), there is an urgent need to first gender mainstream the whole process and not only in areas where the social dimension is stated, namely in the employment guidelines and second to rename the Strategy to include the objective of social inclusion. Gender is a fundamental structuring element and when interrelated with other factors, such as ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, etc., inequality is exacerbated.

While the main growth in job creation in Europe has benefited women and the 60% employment rate for women by 2010 is on its way to meeting the EU target, albeit within varying degrees in different Member States, the nature of jobs created and working patterns have not led to achieving equality between women and men. Gender scrutiny is called for as women do not form a homogeneous group and the diversity of women’s and men’s lives require firm and strengthened measures of gender mainstreaming and specific measures in order to identify and correct persistent barriers to gender equality.

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