EWL News

EWL writes to President Barroso ahead of the adoption of Annual Growth Survey 2012

[Brussels, 18 November 2011] The EWL urges the President of the European Commission to ensure that a gender equality perspective is firmly integrated into the Annual Growth Survey 2012, the key document that will guide the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy in the months to come.

The Annual Growth Survey 2012, to be adopted by the European Commission on 23 November, will assess the progress of the EU and its Member States toward the targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy. The content of the Survey will be important for women and men across Europe, because it will set the direction for the economic, employment and social policies of the EU Member States for the year 2012.

In March the EWL welcomed the ’European Pact for Gender Equality 2011 and the strong commitment the EU Member States made in it to integrate gender equality into the mechanisms of the Europe 2020 Strategy. The Pact encourages the Member States to address gender equality and implement gender mainstreaming in their National Reform Programmes. It also invites the Commission and the Council to incorporate a gender equality perspective into the Annual Growth Survey and the Country Specific Recommendations.

Despite the commitments made in the Pact for Gender Equality, the outcomes of the Europe 2020 process in 2011 did not meet the EWL’s expectations.

The Annual Growth Survey 2011 was totally gender blind. The EWL critisised the policy guidance it gave to the Member States from contributing to the detrimental effects of the crisis and the ensuing austerity measures on women across the EU, instead of countering them.

National Reform Programmes, the mid-term strategic plans for economic, employment and social policies, were adopted by the Member States in April. They addressed gender equality in a narrow sense, with the aim to increase women’s employment rate. Gender mainstreaming was not implemented across all the policy areas discussed in the Programmes.

In June, the Commission made its proposals for ’Country-Specific Recommendations’ for the Member States after having assessed their National Reform Programmes. The EWL welcomed the fact that some of the proposed recommendations mentioned childcare, reconciliation of work and family life and the gender pay gap. However, the EWL would have liked to see equality between women and men addressed in a more consistent manner, including in relation to strong gender mainstreaming.

By sending a letter to President Barroso ahead of the adoption of the Annual Growth Survey 2012, the EWL aims to ensure that in 2012 the 2020 process will bring equal outcomes for women and men. A gender sensitive Annual Growth Survey is the key to ensuring that a gender equality perspective will be an integral part of the National Reform Programmes and thus of the policies of the Member States.

Read the EWL’s letter to President Barroso here.

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