[Brussels, 24 May 2012] On the sidelines of the EWL Annual Conference held in Budapest, Hungary, on 11 May, EWL members endorsed a Manifesto calling for a holistic approach to women’s socio-economic rights and gender equality across the life-cycle.
The publication of the EWL Manifesto coincides with the European Year on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. In this framework, the EWL highlights the need for a life-cycle perspective to respond to various phases and transitional points in women’s lives, as decisions taken at different stages of life impact on each other and have life-long effects.
Recalling that women represent more than half of the European population, the EWL calls for a change in the way women are perceived in policy-making that considers them a ‘discriminated group’.
The members of the EWL also express concern tha equality between women and men is slipping off the political agenda, as a consequence of the backlash of the crisis; the Manifesto calls for gender equality to be placed at the heart of all policies and addressed at the highest political level.
The Manifesto contains a number of recommendations to address women’s economic independence. These include:
- reconnecting economic policies to the real lives of women and men;
- alternative feminist economics that recognises and values care;
- binding legislation for the equal representation of women and men in corporate boards;
- fully paid maternity, paternity, parental and carer’s leave;
- access to life-long learning.
With regards to pay and pensions, the Manifesto confirms that these are the two sides of the same coin and calls for an EU gender pension gap indicator while reducing the gender pay gap.
With regards to taxation and social security, the Manifesto calls for the individualisation of rights as these systems continue to be modelled around the male bread-winner in which women continue to be considered as ‘dependents’ and ‘second earners’.
Finally, when addressing poverty, the Manifesto calls for systematic gender disaggregated data to make visible the feminisation of poverty particularly hidden in household composition.
The Manifesto will be used as a lobbying tool by the EWL and its membership, notably in the framework of the EU2020 Strategy.