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EWL: Gender equality must be at the heart of the European Commission’s forthcoming employment policy proposals

[Brussels, 30 March 2012] The European Commission’s upcoming ’Employment package’ provides an opportunity to focus on women’s role in moving towards ’job-rich’ economic recovery. This week, European Women’s Lobby wrote a letter to European Commission President Barroso, pointing out why focused gender equality measures are indispensable to reaching this goal.

The European Commission is expected to adopt the ’Employment package,’ a set of employment policy proposals that will make concrete recommendations on how the European employment policies can contribute to growth and ’job-rich’ economic recovery, in mid-April.

The EWL letter highlights women’s position on the labour-market, which continues to be characterised by low pay, poor working conditions and the fact that women shoulder the bulk of unpaid care responsibilities. These trends withhold women (51 % of EU’s population) from making their full contribution to the economic recovery.

The EWL stressed the urgency of enabling both women and men to become equal earners and equal carers. EWL warned about the so-called ‘flexicurity’ model which is foreseen as part of the Strategy: With a weak ‘security’ component and no firm gender equality measures, there is a real risk that increased flexibility will lead to privatisation and feminisation of social and economic risk.

Another core recommendation regards the revaluation of the care sector, the so called “white jobs”. Like the ICT sector and the green economy, the care sector has a huge potential for growth. The Employment Package should reflect that these sectors are of equal importance for European economies and worth equal investment.

Other recommendations regard tackling persistent gender inequalities with regards to paid and unpaid work, gender segregated labour markets, women’s entrepreneurship, which has remained stagnant at around 30% over the past decades.

The letterand recommendations can be downloaded.

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