European & International News

Women’s Rights MEPs vote to boost equality between men and women in the EU

[Press release of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee in the European Parliament, 24 January 2014] Equal opportunities and health treatment should be granted to both men and women to fight gender segregation in labour market and to encourage progression of women’s careers, said the Women’s Rights Committee in the report on the equality between women and men adopted on Thursday. MEPs call for a better access of women to high job positions and to guarantee flexibility of work in case of maternity or family commitments.

According to Women’s Rights resolution voted on Thursday, closing the gender pay gap could contribute to overcome the current economic downturn. MEPs pointed out that the rise of temporary jobs caused a decrease of stable employment for women and their participation in the labour market is necessary to promote future economic.

Equal pay for equal work

MEPs warn about atypical forms of contracts and call on Member States to ensure public social security rights and provide training for workers. Wage gap and inequality in levels of unemployment benefits and pensions should be restored, they added.

It is important to increase the level and quality of jobs promoting net job creation and encourage transparency of payment, part-time and fixed-term contract conditions for women and participation in "green" and innovative sectors.

In accordance with national legislation, Women’s Rights committee urges public labour inspections to identify the existence of low-paid forms of work where the workforce is mainly female and which create situations of indirect wage discrimination.

Flexible work conditions in case of maternity leave or family commitments

MEPs call on Member States to make affordable care and child-care, parental leave schemes and voluntary flexible working conditions, particularly when women return to the labour market after long periods of inactivity as a result of having children or other family commitments.

More seats in companies and European Institution

Women’s Rights committee asks the Member States to promote better gender balance in management positions in companies, support parity by nominating a man and a woman as candidates for the post of Commissioner and boosting women’s representation on non-executive boards of quoted companies by laying down a 40% minimum target for women to be met by 2020.

Investments in free, high-quality healthcare services

Investment in public education and health services should be increased by Member States, says committee, with particular attention to the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy, access to contraception and respect of sexual and reproductive health rights.

Non-EU born migrant women, Roma women and women with disabilities should be provided with access to specialised health care services in a range of languages. Adequate legal assistance, as well as psychological counselling and therapy, should also be provided, MEPs added.

Zero tolerance to violence

Targeted prevention programmes to tackle the sources of violence against women should ensure access is available to various forms of prevention, legal protection and assistance, in relation to domestic violence, and also with reference to stalking.

The report was adopted by 13 votes to 8, with 2 abstentions.

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

In the chair: Edite Estrela (S&D)

Rapporteur: Inês Cristina ZUBER

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