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Media Advisory - 4 years overdue, it’s time to deliver

[Brussels, 17 October]

Attn: News Editor
RE: Tuesday 21.10.14 - 14:00 – 15:00 pm – Demonstration to mark the 4th anniversary of the Maternity Leave Directive – let’s call on the EU decision-makers to deliver now!
In front of the European Parliament, Strasbourg

It’s time for better maternity rights for all women in Europe

The European Women’s Lobby, the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union (EU), will be in Strasbourg to call on the new European Commission and the Council of the European Union to move ahead on the adoption of the new Maternity Leave Directive.

• The proposed Maternity Leave Directive was adopted democratically by a large majority of the European Parliament in its first reading on 20th October 2014.
• It has nonetheless been blocked by Member State governments in the Council of the EU for four years.
• The Commissioner-designate for Justice, Consumers and Gender Vera Jourova, and the Commissioner-designate for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Market Mobility Marianna Thyssen, committed to engage the European Commission in unblocking the negotiations with the Council of the EU.
• The proposal provides a number of forward-looking measures including 20 weeks fully paid maternity leave, strengthened measures to protect women from dismissal on return and two weeks fully paid paternity leave also available to same sex couples.
• Women continue to earn 16% on average less than men and it often at the moment of childbirth that the gender pay gap kicks in, with life-long often irreversible consequences, including the fact that women receive on average 40% less pension than men.
• Despite existing laws that protect pregnant workers, we know that more and more women today are experiencing discrimination in the work place as a direct result of pregnancy and/or birth. This is why it is urgent to strengthen the rights and protection of women during pregnancy and on return to work.

• The 20th October marks the fourth anniversary of the adoption of the Maternity Leave Directive by the European Parliament in its first reading.
• The Commissioners-designate Vera Jourova and Marianne Thyssen took a strong stand on the issue. The European Women’s Lobby calls them on making their commitment a reality as soon as the new College of Commissioners is approved by the European Parliament.

• 14:00: Gathering in front of the European Parliament
• 14:15 – 14:30: Speeches by Joanna Maycock, EWL Secretary General, and Members of the European Parliament from different political groups
• 15:00: End of the event

Opportunities for interviews:
• Joanna Maycock, EWL Secretary General
• Mary Collins, Policy Officer on Economics and Social Policy

For more information, you can:
• visit EWL website :
• Follow EWL through Twitter : @EuropeanWomen

For more information, interviews, background or visual materials, please contact:
• Elvira Buijink, EWL Media and Communication Officer,, +32 02/210 04 40, +32 (0)496 86 48 26
• Jessica Machacova, EWL Policy Officer,, +32 02/210 04 28, +33 (0)7 78 34 59 55
• Mary Collins, EWL Policy Officer Economics and Social Policy & Membership Coordinator,, +32 (0)2/210 04 20

Note to editors: The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union (EU), working to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men. EWL membership extends to organisations in all 28 EU member states and three candidate countries, as well as to 20 European-wide organisations, representing a total of more than 2000 associations.
More information:

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