The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) wishes to highlight some of the discrepancies in the Lisbon Strategy as the core EU socio-economic political framework, and in so doing demonstrate that the EU’s falls short of its Treaty commitments to promote true equality between women and men.
In light of the crucial importance of the Lisbon Strategy on Growth and Jobs as a generator of social well-being (Jobs and Social Inclusion) and economic competitiveness (Growth), there is an urgent need to first gender mainstream the whole process and not only in areas where the social dimension is stated, namely in the employment guidelines and second to rename the Strategy to include the objective of social inclusion. Gender is a fundamental structuring element and when interrelated with other factors, such as ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, etc., inequality is exacerbated.
While the main growth in job creation in Europe has benefited women and the 60% employment rate for women by 2010 is on its way to meeting the EU target, albeit within varying degrees in different Member States, the nature of jobs created and working patterns have not led to achieving equality between women and men. Gender scrutiny is called for as women do not form a homogeneous group and the diversity of women’s and men’s lives require firm and strengthened measures of gender mainstreaming and specific measures in order to identify and correct persistent barriers to gender equality.
Since the launching of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000 and the revision in 2005, other issues have emerged as key priorities, namely flexicurity, which impact upon women’s equal rights to employment and more importantly equal rights between women and men in a broader socio-economic context in light of demographic changes. Some issues that have been identified as priorities will be expanded upon in this contribution, namely, the Integrated Guidelines, principles of flexicurity, reconciliation of professional, family and private life, women’s poverty and the need for an integrative approach with other socio-economic policies.
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