European & International News

European Parliament to consider Resolution on ‘Eliminating Gender Stereotypes in the EU’

[Brussels, 05 July 2012] The European Parliament Committee on Women’s Rights & Gender Equality will on 10 July consider a draft report/motion for a Resoltution on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU.

According to the newsletter of the so-called FEMM Committee: ‘In order to achieve gender equality, the issue of stereotypes needs to be addressed, and the Committee therefore decided to draft a report on the issue. The Rapporteur [Kartika Tamara Liotard, MEP] looks at gender stereotypes in media and education, in the labour market, and in decisionmaking, and gives suggestions for EU actions. The long term aim is to reduce the prevalence of negative gender stereotypes which affect women and men and constrain their opportunities and choices.’

The draft report calls for action from the EU on 18 points:

  1. Notes that there is a severe lack of progress on honouring the commitments made as part
    of the Beijing Platform for Action and stresses the need for new indicators in the area of
    gender stereotypes and for analytical reports at EU level, and invites the European
    Institute for Gender Equality to address this issue;
  2. Notes that, despite the EU’s commitment to equality between men and women, there is
    still a gap in legislation providing for non-discrimination against women and gender
    equality in the areas of social security, education and the media, emphasises the need for
    new legislation in these areas and calls on the Commission to take the issue of gender
    equality into account in all policy fields;
  3. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to use the European Social Fund (ESF)
    to combat gender stereotypes in different professions through positive action, life-long
    learning and encouragement for girls to undertake studies in fields which are not
    traditionally seen as ‘feminine’;

Education and media

  1. Stresses the need for special career guidance courses in primary and secondary schools
    and higher education institutions, in order to inform young people about the negative
    consequences of gender stereotypes and encourage them to study for and embark on
    careers that have in the past been considered as typically ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’; asks
    that support be provided for any action aimed at reducing the prevalence of gender
    stereotypes among young children;
  2. Draws attention to the fact that gender stereotypes in advertising during children’s
    television programmes are a particular problem, as they have a potential impact on gender
    socialisation and, subsequently, children’s views of themselves, their family members and
    the outside world, and stresses the importance of reducing children’s exposure to gender
    stereotypes from the earliest possible age;
  3. Stresses the need to run special courses on gender stereotypes in the media for national
    advertising standards committees and self-regulatory bodies so as to raise awareness of
    the negative influence of gender-discriminatory images on television and in marketing and
    advertising campaigns;

Labour market

  1. Draws attention to the growing concern about the negative influence of gender stereotypes
    on the gender pay gap of 16.4 % and calls on the Commission and the Member States to
    consider this concern when developing new policies;
  2. Stresses the need for awareness-raising activities in order to inform employers and
    employees of the link between gender stereotypes and the gender pay gap, to inform other
    stakeholders in society of the fact that gender stereotypes reduce women’s opportunities
    both on the labour market and in their private lives, and to encourage transparency in
    public and private companies and agencies;
  3. Calls on the Commission to promote quotas in occupations that are traditionally
    considered as ‘male’, since stereotypes also come from the scarcity of women in certain
    positions; notes that the presence of more women in traditionally ‘male’ occupations will
    therefore weaken the prevalence of such stereotypes;
  4. Reminds the Commission that elderly women are particularly affected by the gender pay
    gap, as it increases the risk of extreme and persistent poverty once women have reached
    retirement age;
  5. Notes that the likelihood of elderly women ending up in poverty when they reach
    retirement age will increase as a result of the new EU pension rules; stresses, therefore,
    the importance of not supporting any amendments in the White Paper that increase the
    pension gap between men and women;

Economic and political decision-making

  1. Draws attention to the fact that the representation of women in national governments
    stood at 23 % in 2009 and welcomes the idea of introducing quotas in order to increase the
    number of women in national governments and parliaments, as well as in the EU
    institutions;

Other actions

  1. Calls on the Member States to reflect on their underlying assumptions about women and
    men in the labour market, as stereotypes can increase occupational segregation and the
    gender pay gap;
  2. Calls on the Commission and the national governments of the Member States to
    encourage more research on gender stereotyping and to collect further data on gender
    stereotypes by developing more indicators for gender stereotyping;
  3. Calls on the Commission to urge the Member States to honour the commitments made in
    the European Pact for Gender Equality;
  4. Encourages the European Institute for Gender Equality and different national gender
    equality institutes to promote further research on the root causes of gender stereotypes and
    the impact of stereotypes on gender equality, and stresses the importance of exchanging
    new ideas and research on best practices with a view to eliminating gender stereotypes in
    the Member States and the EU institutions;
  5. Reminds the Commission of Parliament’s resolution of 3 September 2008 on how
    marketing and advertising affect equality between women and men, and calls on it to
    implement the recommendations put forward in that resolution;
  6. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the
    governments and parliaments of the Member States.

Direct Link to Full 10-Page Draft Report:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/femm/pr/904/904066/904066en.pdf

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