[Brussels, 22 May 2020] The European Commission President is expected to propose an EU Economic Recovery Package next Wednesday (27 May), in which women throughout Europe expect a strong signal in recognition of their invaluable contribution to the economy and to society. This is the essence of the petition #HalfOfIt initiated by Member of the European Parliament Alexandra Geese (Greens/EFA).
Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March, women across Europe are sustaining our societies (see EWL’s policy brief). They are the majority of all health care workers providing care to the sick, the elderly, persons with disabilities, persons with special needs, as well as accompanying those towards a dignified death. They are also providing informal care at home during shutdown in many countries, substituting educational professionals whilst juggling their own professional responsibilities and caring for the children of those who are working to sustain all the hospital services; and without which a large number of women will be unable to return to the labour force when the pandemic is over.
They are securing our food chains as the majority of workers in supermarkets and food outlet services. They are ensuring a safe environment for all, often at the expense of their own and their family’s health, as the majority of workers in the cleaning sector. They are accompanying, soothing and reassuring those for whom this pandemic is causing great distress: women experiencing male violence, homeless women, older women, undocumented women. In other words, they are the backbone of our society.
In March 2020, the European Commission adopted its five-year Gender Equality Strategy, a blue print to drive the post COVID-19 period, to ensure that equality between women and men is at the heart of the response to COVID 19 across Europe. This needs to be matched with half of the EU’s funds for an EU Economic Recovery Package.
The European Women’s Lobby urges you to sign the petition, which also calls for many of the EWL’s recommendations on the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy, notably:
- Gender impact assessments and gender budgeting for all funds spent in the framework of the Recovery and Resilience Instrument
- Investment in the care economy, developing resilient childcare services and schools that allow all parents to maintain paid jobs and a healthy life balance.
- Development of care services from a life-cycle perspective: a Care Deal for Europe and a European project for gender-disaggregated statistics of unpaid and paid work as a basis for a new calculation of GDP