Posted on 24 February 2014
This European Women’s Voice issue aims to contribute to a better insight in a gender equal and sustainable model for society in which equal sharing of political and economic power is a fundamental principle, translated into tangible policies and actions.
The countries in focus are Croatia, Ireland and Italy. It intends to provide a stimulus for discussion on how women’s organisations can advocate for parity legislation and foster women’s participation on Boards.
Women make up more than half of the population and electorate in the European Union (EU), yet they continue to be underrepresented in all economic and political decision making bodies at all levels. The average representation of women in national parliaments is 24% and in national governments 23%. The number of women presidents of Europe’s largest companies has fallen from 4% to 3% since 2004. For the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) and its members, this underrepresentation of women constitutes a serious democratic deficit, which undermines the legitimacy of the contemporary democratic ideal.
The EWL is very grateful to all the women who contributed an article or interview in this issue of the European Women’s Voice, and more particularly to Ms Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Italian Minister for Integration and Youth Policy. On the eve of elections’ year 2014 and while austerity measures are hitting women’s economic independence very hard, the European Union is in a better position to continue to take a leadership role on issues of gender equality that are crucial for the wellbeing of all.
Posted on 30 January 2014
[Brussels, 27 January 2014] In the framework of its campaign ‘Together for a Europe free from prostitution’, and at the eve of a vote on a report on prostitution in the European Parliament, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) has developed a leaflet answering to the most frequent assumptions on prostitution. 18 myths are therefore looked at from a gender equality and women’s rights perspective. From “It is the oldest profession in the world” to “We must combat trafficking, but prostitution has nothing to do with it”, EWL leaflet wants to provide with human rights evidence based answers to the reality of prostitution and trafficking in women in Europe and in the world.
The leaflet also comprises a comparison of the Swedish and Dutch policies, after ten years of implementation, based on official reports and studies. The last page summarises the demands of the Brussels’ Call, which has been signed by more than 200 organisations from all over Europe and beyond. 54 MEPs have already signed it, from different countries and political groups.
Posted on 5 November 2013
The European Women’s Lobby is pleased to introduce its latest publication Women’s Watch 2012-2013, a feminist overview of women’s rights and gender equality in Europe.
This publication is the first of its kind – a genuinely feminist appraisal of the situation on the ground in 30 European countries with regards to women’s rights and gender equality, judged by the yardstick of the European Women’s Lobby’s ideals. The Women’s Watch report is a snapshot of the situation during a two year period (2012-2013) and looks both at legislation and statistical data with 30 very short country pages.
The report looks at women’s situation and gender equality in three main areas: women in decision-making, women’s economic independence and care responsibilities, and violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights, while also looking at the links between those areas.
Women in decision making
Women are increasingly visible in elected office, however when it comes to real positions of decision making power; heads of political parties, senior ministries, positions on corporate boards, women disappear. The report also sees that the incremental approach to participation in decision-making without binding measures has been effective in some countries, but it concludes that this has taken decades and that as European elections approach there is no more time to waste: parity works, let’s implement it!
Women’s economic independence and care responsibilities
The report observes that the crisis and austerity policies are potentially jeopardising decades of progress towards gender equality. Women’s employment rates had been growing steadily but have stalled in the last year and the quality of women’s work is decreasing. The gender pay and pensions gap are persistent and are one facet of the impact of provision of care places for children and for the elderly on women’s lives and choices. Therefore the report demands a multi-layered approach that focuses on equality in paid and unpaid work between women and men and on the promotion of women’s economic independence.
Violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights
There is still a high discrepancy between legislations addressing violence against women throughout Europe, therefore creating inequalities between women in terms of protection from violence. Violence against women also remains invisible because of the lack of data, at European and national level. This is why the EWL is calling for a European Strategy and Year to raise awareness and develop consistent action to end this pervasive violation of women’s rights. In terms of women’s sexual and reproductive rights, the report shows that the right to abortion is still not granted everywhere in Europe, and that there is an obvious lack of sexuality education, which is instrumental for achieving equality between men and women.
With European parliamentary elections and a newly appointed European Commission on the agenda in 2014, the EWL, the largest women’s NGO umbrella organisation in Europe, urges decision-makers at all levels to take into account the findings of this Women’s Watch report and to use them as a tool for change towards full equality between women and men, in all spheres of life, including public policies.
To download the Women’s Watch in PDF format, click here
For theme specific pages, please click on the theme
Women in decision-making (ENG/FR)
For country specific pages, please click on the country Austria - Belgium - Bulgaria - Croatia - Cyprus - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - FYROM - Germany- Greece - Hungary - Ireland - Italy- Latvia- Lithuania - Luxembourg - Malta - Netherlands - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Slovakia- Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Turkey - United Kingdom
Posted on 18 June 2013
The European Women’s Lobby is pleased to unveil its 2013 Barometer on Rape in Europe.
Thanks to the work and expertise of the experts to the EWL Observatory on violence against women, the EWL has produced a strong policy document analysing the incidence of Rape in Europe.
The Barometer is a very important tool to get a European overview of national actions on violence against women and compare European countries with regards to their commitment to eradicate such violence.
In a year that has seen unprecedented coverage of stories of sexual violence and sexual assault globally, what do you know about the situation in Europe? How are people who are raped treated in each Member State? Do the definitions of rape match from Member State to Member State? What constitutes consent? What constitutes resistance? Now that we have cross-border protection orders, wouldn’t it make sense to have similar definitions of rape? The EWL Barometer 2013 gives visibility to this topic and presents the major challenges faced today in Europe. It covers 32 countries and shows how national legislation complies, or fails to comply with the Council of Europe Convention definition of rape.
Following the 2011 Barometer on National Action Plans on Violence against Women in the EU, the EWL Centre on Violence against Women will present the findings from the 2013 Barometer focusing on rape.
The Barometer is the fruit of collaboration of the expert network of the EWL Observatory on Violence against Women, with the support of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung-EU Office.
How national legislation complies or fails to comply with the Council of Europe Convention definition of rape
What official data is kept, or is not kept on women victims of rape in every country
The existence of support and treatment services for victims
Covering 32 countries the Barometer provides a snapshot of the situation across Europe and highlights areas where change is urgently needed. The meeting will bring together country experts and leading advocates to discuss the report’s findings and implications for policy at both national and European level.
In this context, the EWL Barometer reflects women’s organisations’ call for concrete policy action at European level to build a Europe free from all forms of male violence against women.
To download the Barometer in PDF format, click here.
To download the overview of the report detailing its main findings, click here.
For country specific pages, please click on the country: Austria - Belgium - Bulgaria - Croatia - Cyprus - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Iceland - Ireland - Italy - Latvia - Lithuania - Luxembourg - former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - Malta - Netherlands - Poland - Portugal- Romania - Serbia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Turkey - United Kingdom - Ukraine.
Posted on 11 January 2013
[Brussels, 11 January 2013] The EWL is pleased to announce the publication of the first edition of its “Ticking Clocks” report, which aims to provide input for the European Commission annual drafting of recommendations to the Member States in socio-economic policies. The report has been drafted with the input of the EWL’s member organisations and is the first of many as the EWL continues to monitor, assess and propose recommendations to strengthen women’s rights and gender equality in the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Since the introduction of the European Semester as a means to implement the Europe 2020 Strategy (2010), economic governance has taken a predominant place on the European stage, with the result that gender equality as a specific objective has slipped off the political agenda. This is also reflected in the Europe 2020 Strategy where there is no specific objective to achieve gender equality. Instead, there is an implicit assumption that women and men are at the same starting point on the labour market as one of the objectives aims to reach an employment target rate of 75% by 2020 for both women and men. While the Europe 2020 Strategy is the overarching signpost aiming to lead the EU towards a smart, competitive and inclusive economy, economic governance is blurring the way forward as economic policies and strategies are becoming more disconnected from the real lives of women and men throughout the EU.
The stakes are high as the economic and financial crisis and subsequent austerity measures are hitting women hard. The impact of the recession on women is likely to become more acute over time as the effects of labour-market shifts are increasingly felt within households, and cuts in public expenditure affect public services and the many women who work in them and use them. The recession is having a significant and damaging impact on specific groups of women who face multiple disadvantages: young and the elderly, migrants and ethnic minorities, the low-skilled, those with short-term contracts, single mothers, women in rural areas, those aged over 45, women with disabilities and women returning to work after childbirth.
The following report gives a voice to the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) member organisations with regards to their analysis of and recommendations for a more gender sensitive Europe 2020 strategy. This is the first year that the EWL’s members have engaged in this way and it can be expected that this will continue to be the case until meaningful consultation and structural changes are carried out which are fully inclusive of women.
The members of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) drafted ‘alternative’ country-specific recommendations, on the basis of an analysis of the National Reform Programmes (NRPs). This is their response to bridging a democratic gap which is happening as tensions arise between, on the one hand, pressure on Member States to severely reduce public deficits and, on the other hand, the absence of a full gender equality analysis (as well as a social impact analysis) to ascertain the impact of public deficit reductions on (in)equality between women and men as well as the impact on increasing inequalities, poverty and social exclusion as a direct result of austerity. While it cannot be denied that the socio-economic impact is part of a global crisis, women’s contribution to moving out of the crisis should not be underestimated. In fact, there will be no future vision if women continue to be on the margins of economic power and decision-making. This requires more stringent and coherent gender equality objectives, targets and strategies across the broad spectrum of macro and socio economic policies.
Posted on 16 November 2012
[Brussels, 14 November 2012] The findings of the EWL study, The price of austerity – the impact on women’s rights and gender equality in Europe , reveal that while austerity measures are hurting women, men, girls and boys across the European Union (EU), women are particularly hit the hardest. Because public sector employment and public services concern women to a far greater extent than men, any change in the public sector will impact on women more. Austerity measures that seek to reduce public deficits by cutting public sector jobs, services and benefits directly impact on women. Narrowing gender gaps in employment, unemployment and pay are not to be interpreted as growing gender equality but rather a deterioration of the working and living conditions for all.
As predicated in the previous joint EWL/Oxfam publication in 2010, Women’s poverty and social exclusion at a time of recession – An invisible crisis?, the first ‘wave’ of the crisis was a private sector crisis which impacted more on the male dominated sectors of the economy (car industry..), the extension of the crisis to the public sector impacts on women more.
Based on a survey of EWL member organisations as well as other sources, the study maps the pattern of the impact of austerity measures on women and gender equality. Focusing on three areas, namely, cuts in public sector jobs and wages, cuts in services and benefits and cuts in funding for women’s rights and gender equality the findings reveal that the crisis is not a he-cession after all, as the official statistics do not tell the full story. For example, while women’s unemployment rate is close to that of men’s, statistics fail to capture the fact that when women become unemployed they tend to withdraw from the labour-market or as involuntary part-time workers they are counted as being employed. Cuts in public services and benefits translate into a care crisis, as reductions in care services, cuts in child, disability, carers’ benefits and reductions in tax credits, are translating into the privatisation of care. Cuts in statutory leave, including parental and paternity leave, are preventing men from taking their share of care, with the result that women’ real choices to engage in paid work on the labour market are compromised.
The EWL study questions the long term impact of austerity measures on women’s rights and gender relations, particularly equality between women and men. The impact of austerity measures could roll back years of progress. Women’s employment rate in 22 countries is back to 2005 levels, a far cry - which will require massive investments – from the EU’s headline target to reach a 75% employment rate for women and men by 2020. When States fail to provide public services and reassess their role in income and wealth distribution, women pay the price. More worryingly gender equality is damaged as the danger of a return to entrenched traditional gender roles and expectations put women’s economic independence seriously at risk.
The erosion of gender equality institutional mechanisms at national level, coupled with reductions in funding to women’s NGOs, especially those providing vital services, the demand for which is increasing in times of austerity, impacts on women’s capacity to respond in terms of service delivery, protection of women’s rights and advocacy. Austerity is silencing women’s voices.
Recommendations in the study call on Member States to safeguard vital services use gender impact analysis and gender budgeting tools. The European Commission must take a leadership role to halt the damage that is being done in recommending to Member States to reform labour markets and undertake social welfare reforms which are directly resulting in austerity measures. Finally, the study urgently invites women’s NGOs to engage in budgetary processes and to lobby finance ministers.
Posted on 23 April 2012
We are proud to share with you the Spring 2012 edition of the EWL’s magazine European Women’s Voice! This issue is dedicated to discussing intergenerational solidarity from a gender equality perspective and it is the EWL’s contribution to the ongoing European Year on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.
Until now, gender equality issues have not been at the core of the European debate on active ageing and solidarity between generations. The third edition of the European Women’s Voice, entitled ‘Her Future – Intergenerational solidarity from a gender equality perspective’, fills this gap and outlines a life-cycle approach to women’s rights and gender equality.
The articles of this edition of European Women’s Voice invite us to look at a range of gender equality issues from care to pay and pensions from a life-cycle perspective, with the aim of understanding and improving the situation of women at all stages of their lives. The publication also provides a stimulus for discussions on how women’s organisations can turn generational differences into a source of energy and new vision.
For more information and to order printed copies, contact the EWL Communications and Media Officer Leanda Barrington-Leach (email@example.com / (+32) 02/210 04 27).
Posted on 5 April 2012
[Brussels, 05 April 2012] Targeted national and local policies make a difference in integrating migrant women to the labour market, reveals a new study by the European Women’s Lobby and the European Network of Migrant Women. These policies include, among other things, developing efficient systems for recognition of qualifications obtained by migrant women in third countries and the possibility of top-up training opportunities for those lacking certain competencies.
The study points out that too many well-qualified migrant women are employed in low paid jobs, especially in cleaning and caring. This means that despite the importance of these jobs, currently societies do not fully benefit of migrant women’s skills and qualifications.
The comparative report, entitled ‘Equal Rights. Equal Voices. Migrant women’s integration in the labour market in six European cities: a comparative approach’, helps us to understand the characteristics and particularities of the integration process of migrant’s women in EU in the field of employment and education.
It assesses the current situation and progress on migrant women’s integration into the labour market based on studies of six European Union (EU) cities: Athens, Dublin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Madrid and Marseille. The study looks at the specific impact that local, regional and national integration policies have had on migrant women’s employment. It aims at opening up a debate on the specific gendered impact of integration policies, especially concerning their experiences of participation in the labour market.
Based on the analysis of what has already been done and of the still existing huge gaps, the study proposes how legislation and other policies could be made more effective for the benfit of migrant women and as a consequence the whole society– both at the EU level and at national level.
The findings of the EWL and ENoMW’s study can help us to reach an increase of skilled migrant women into appropriate work and to make the formal labour market more accessible for less- qualified migrant women.
Posted on 29 February 2012
[Brussels, 29 February 2012] Decisive intervention makes a difference in increasing the representation of women in company boards, reveals the European Women’s Lobby’s new report on progress, gaps and good practice as regard to women on boards in Europe.
The report, entitled ‘Women on Boards in Europe – From a Snail’s Pace to a Giant Leap?’ assessess the current situation and progress in ten European countries. It provides a comprehensive overview of the measures adopted in the recent years at national level to increase the representation of women in the boardrooms.
Based on the analysis of what has already been done, the report proposes how legislation and other policies could be made more effective – both at the EU level and at national level.
The findings of the EWL’s report can help us reach equal representation of women and men in boardrooms across Europe - sooner than in the 50 years time it would take with the current rate of progress.
Download the EWL report here.
Posted on 18 January 2012
[Brussels, 18 January 2012] In the context of the European Commission public consultation on the right to family reunification, the European Network of Migrant Women and the European Women’s Lobby have launched a lobbying campaign that calls for gender-sensitive EU policies on family reunification.
The ENoMW and the EWL have produced a Lobbying Kit that helps organisations and individuals to get involved. The Lobbying Kit provides useful background information, and it offers several tools to effective lobbying for EU family reunification policies that uphold the rights and meet needs of migrant women.
We are calling on the European Commission to enforce the current EU Directive on the right to family reunification, rather than reopen legislative negotiations, which, given the current political climate, could be detrimental to migrants. In particular, we call on the EU and the member states to ensure the Directive is implemented in a gender-sensitive manner.
Dowload the Lobbying Kit and join our call!