[Brussels, 1 October 2015] Did you know that over a quarter (26,9%) of women in the EU’s 28 countries experience poverty and social exclusion? That the gender pension gap is 39% in the EU and a major cause of the feminisation of poverty among older women, affecting 22% of women over the age of 65 compared to 16% of men in the same age category? That single parents, 80-90% of whom are women, migrant women, many of whom work in the informal economy, and Roma women, many living in conditions of severe housing deprivation, are particularly at risk of poverty?
In Ocitober, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) focuses on Women and the Economy, as part of its Beijing+20 campaign. Read and share EWL’s factsheet, part of EWL report “From words to action”and comprise our key demands to the European Union and the Member States. Watch out for our news to find out what we organise this month to raise awareness on Women and the Poverty!
All our members mobilise throughout Europe to make 2015 a critical year towards the realisation of all commitments of the Beijing Platform for Action. Women and girls rights cannot wait 20 more years to enjoy their full women’s rights! Watch our members delivering EWL key messages for Beijing+20 in EWL video “From words to action.
Women and Poverty, the reality, our demands
Poverty and social exclusion are mutually linked to the achievement of women’s economic independence, which is a key issue in enabling women to be active actors in all aspects of life. Not only are women part of every group at risk of poverty, but they are particularly vulnerable when facing other forms of discrimination (such as based on their migration status, ethnic origin, disability, etc.). Poverty and social exclusion, coupled with persisting patriarchal mentalities legitimising the commodification of women’s sexuality and bodies, are also among the push factors that propel women and girls into prostitution and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, both within EU Member States and on an international scale.
The persistence, and increase in some countries, of high rates of poverty among women is a clear indication of the incapacity of the current EU social, economic and employment policies to respond properly to women’s needs and to guarantee women’s and girls’ rights. Austerity measures, originally conceived to tackle the EU economic and democratic crisis, continue to have a dramatic impact on women, both as public sector workers, in areas such as education and health, and as beneficiaries of social security, public services, including care services, all of which have been affected by public cuts.
It is crucial to address the gender dimension of poverty and social exclusion within the broader EU policy framework, and especially EU macro-economic policies, if we want to attain real gender equality in Europe.
Women and Poverty: the EWL in action
- EWL video clip “A she-(re) cession. What does austerity mean for women?” (2013)captures the main messages of
- EWL’s reports on the impact of the crisis on women ‘An invisible crisis?’, 2010, with Oxfam International, and ‘The price of austerity’, 2013.
- The European Civil Society Semester Alliance: since 2012, the EWL has been working with a coalition of social NGOs, service providers, Trade Unions and environmental NGOs, to monitor the EU poverty target and provide alternative country-specific-recommendations (CSR), in the context of the European Semester (governance of the EU 2020 Strategy). In addition, the EWL membership provides alternative CSRs compiled in a publication entitled ‘Ticking Clocks’, which is sent to European policy-makers responsible for the European Semester.
- Since the implementation of the EU 2020 Strategy in 2011, which set a headline target to lift 20 million people out of poverty, the EWL has been part of the European Platform against Poverty (EPAP), co-ordinated by the European Commission, with the aim of highlighting and addressing women’s poverty and social exclusion. The EWL chaired the workshop on the gender dimension of poverty in the context of the annual European Convention on Poverty (2012); the recommendations fed into the subsequent European Commission’s Social Investment Package (SIP).
- EWL action for the rights of older women: “Improving the situation of older women in the European Union”, joint publication with AGE Platform Europe, March 2014.
EWL Beijing+20 campaign: activities all year long to promote women’s and girls rights!
Each month in 2015, according to our unique and exciting 2015 calendar, we will focus on one of the 12 critical areas of the Beijing Platform for Action. EWL Beijing+20 campaign and report ’From words to action’ is a strong tool to make a change for all women and girls in Europe and beyond. So join us by following us on social media, disseminating our factsheets and report, coming to our events and the activities of our members if you can!