Procedure : 2014/2217(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0015/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0015/2015

Debates :

PV 09/03/2015 - 13
CRE 09/03/2015 - 13

Votes :

PV 10/03/2015 - 10.10

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0050

REPORT     
PDF 228kWORD 130k
28 January 2015
PE 541.538v03-00 A8-0015/2015

on progress on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2013

(2014/2217(INI))

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Rapporteur: Marc Tarabella

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on progress on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2013 (2014/2217(INI))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to Articles 2 and 3(3), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–       having regard to Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–       having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR),

–       having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 18 December 1979,

–       having regard to the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others of 1949,

–       having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 15 September 1995 adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the outcome documents adopted at the United Nations Beijing +5 (2000), Beijing +10 (2005), and Beijing +15 (2010) special sessions,

–       having regard to Regulation (EU) No 606/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters(1),

–       having regard to Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA(2),

–       having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and in particular Article 6 thereof on women with disabilities, of 13 December 2006,

–       having regard to Directive 2011/99/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the European protection order(3),

–       having regard to Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA(4),

–       having regard to the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges and related measures (women on boards directive (COM(2012)0614)),

–       having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention),

–       having regard to the European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020) of 7 March 2011(5),

–       having regard to the Commission communication of 5 March 2010 entitled ‘A Strengthened Commitment to Equality between Women and Men: A Women’s Charter’ (COM(2010)0078),

–       having regard to the Commission communication of 21 September 2010 entitled ‘Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015’ (COM(2010)0491),

–       having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘EUROPE 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–       having regard to the Commission staff working document of 16 September 2013 entitled ‘Mid-term review of the Strategy for equality between women and men (2010-2015)’ (SWD(2013)0339),

–       having regard to the Commission staff working document of 8 May 2013 entitled ‘Report on Progress on equality between women and men in 2012’ (SWD(2013)0171),

–       having regard to the Commission communication of 25 November 2013 entitled ‘Towards the elimination of female genital mutilation’ (COM(2013)0833),

–       having regard to the 2012 report by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) entitled ‘Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the EU Member States: Violence against Women – Victim Support’,

–       having regard to the Council conclusions of 5-6 June 2014 on preventing and combating all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation,

–       having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2014 on the elimination of female genital mutilation(6),

–       having regard to the EU directives from 1975 onwards on aspects of equal treatment for women and men (Directive 2010/41/EU(7), Directive 2010/18/EU(8), Directive 2006/54/EC(9), Directive 2004/113/EC(10), Directive 92/85/EEC(11), Directive 86/613/EEC(12), and Directive 79/7/EEC(13)),

–       having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2013 on the application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value(14),

–       having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2013 on the impact of the economic crisis on gender equality and women’s rights(15),

–       having regard to its resolution of 11 June 2013 on educational and occupational mobility of women in the EU(16),

–       having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2013 on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU(17),

–       having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2013 on the 57th session on UN CSW: Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls(18),

–       having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2012 on women’s working conditions in the service sector(19),

–       having regard to its resolution of 24 May 2012 with recommendations to the Commission on application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value(20),

–       having regard to its resolutions of 10 February 2010 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2009(21), 8 March 2011 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2010(22), and 13 March 2012 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2011(23),

–       having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2011 on women and business leadership(24),

–       having regard to its resolution of 5 April 2011 on priorities and outline of a new EU policy framework to fight violence against women(25),

–       having regard to its resolution of 8 March 2011 on the face of female poverty in the European Union(26),

–       having regard to its resolution of 17 June 2010 on gender aspects of the economic downturn and financial crisis(27),

–       having regard to its resolution of 3 February 2009 on non-discrimination based on sex and intergenerational solidarity(28),

–       having regard to its resolution of 26 February 2014 on sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact on gender equality(29),

–       having regard to its resolution of 13 October 2005 on women and poverty in the European Union(30),

–       having regard to its resolution of 25 February 2014 on combating violence against women(31),

–       having regard to its resolution of 3 February 2009 on non-discrimination based on sex and intergenerational solidarity(32),

–       having regard to the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 92/85/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding (maternity leave directive (COM(2008)0637)),

–       having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 May 2014 on gender equality in sport,

–       having regard to Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast)(33)1,

–       having regard to the Commission progress report of 3 June 2013 on the Barcelona objectives entitled ‘The development of childcare facilities for young children in Europe with a view to sustainable and inclusive growth’,

–       having regard to the Commission report of September 2014 entitled ‘Statistical Data on Women Entrepreneurs in Europe’,

–       having regard to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey of March 2014 entitled ‘Violence against women: an EU-wide survey’ which, for the first time, has provided data concerning the extent, nature and consequences of various forms of violence against women, as well as victims’ responses to violent incidents and their rights awareness,

–       having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–       having regard to the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0015/2015),

A.     whereas equality between women and men is a fundamental right which enjoys recognition under the Treaties since the 1957 Treaty of Rome and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; whereas, despite the fact that the European Union has adopted numerous texts to ensure equal opportunities and treatment for men and women and to combat all forms of discrimination based on sex and that the Union has set itself the specific task of mainstreaming gender equality in all its activities, the progress made remains insufficient and many inequalities between men and women still persist;

B.     whereas the principle of equal treatment of women and men implies that there must be no discrimination whatsoever, be it direct or indirect, also with respect to motherhood, fatherhood and the sharing of family responsibilities;

C.     whereas it is crucial to take into account the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination experienced by many women and girls in Europe (on the grounds of disability, a migrant background, ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, housing status, a low level of education, being victims of violence, etc.) and the fact that their conditions have worsened over recent years;

D.     whereas the Europe 2020 strategy for a smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy entails ambitious targets, including the 75 % employment rate and the reduction of the number of persons suffering, or threatened with, poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020, which will be impossible to meet unless Member States implement innovative policies to promote gender equality in the true sense;

E.     whereas the fiscal consolidation policies being pursued by Member States are primarily affecting the public sector, in which women are represented more strongly and of which they are the main beneficiaries, and are thus causing harm in two ways, and whereas these policies are making employment more insecure, not least because of the increase in the instance of part-time working (32 % among women compared with 8.2 % among men) and temporary contracts, and not to mention wage reductions;

F.     whereas there are more women than men living in poverty and exclusion, especially older women, whose average pension level is 39 % lower than that of men, and single mothers; whereas, for family reasons, it is more common for women rather than men to work part time or under fixed-term or temporary contracts, and whereas women’s poverty is due largely to the precariousness of their jobs;

G.     whereas combating poverty is one of the Commission’s five measurable targets proposed under the Europe 2020 strategy; whereas Integrated Guideline 10 of the Europe 2020 strategy (promoting social inclusion and combating poverty) could prompt the adoption of national policies to protect women, in particular, from the risk of poverty, ensuring income security for one-parent families and elderly women;

H.     whereas the falling birth rate in the EU has been exacerbated by the crisis, given that unemployment, precarious circumstances and uncertainty about the future and the economy are making couples, and younger women in particular, delay having children, thereby further reinforcing the EU-wide trend towards population ageing;

I.      whereas the existing taxation systems in certain Member States are predicated on a narrow view of the family to the extent that they are biased towards families in which only one of the two parents is working inasmuch as, in many cases, they deter women from working and fail to provide sufficient support to single-parent families, large families and families supporting dependent relatives;

J.      whereas although women account for almost 60 % of graduates in the EU, their representation in senior official and decision-making positions is disproportionately low, and the proportion of EU scientists and engineers who are female is less than 33 %, while women make up almost 80 % of the workforce in the health, education and welfare sectors;

K.     whereas there is a strong horizontal segregation or gender-specific division of labour, with almost half of women in employment being concentrated in 10 of the 130 occupations listed in the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) drawn up by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and only 16 % of workers holding jobs in sectors with an equal proportion of men and women;

L.     whereas the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for 99 % of European companies and provide two out of three private-sector jobs, is crucial to the achievement of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth; whereas only 31 % of entrepreneurs in the EU are women; whereas the rate of entrepreneurship among women in the EU is 10 %, as compared with 19 % among men; whereas there is a need to promote and support the increase of entrepreneurship among women;

M.    whereas approximately 42 % of those regularly involved in agriculture in the EU are women, and 3 in 10 farms in Europe are run by women; whereas promoting equal opportunities for men and women and, at the same time, involving women to a greater extent in business and society, especially in agriculture, must be matters of ongoing concern in Europe;

N.     whereas the female employment rate is 63 %; whereas the gender gap in pay stands at 16.4 %; whereas 73 % of the members serving in national parliaments are men, and whereas women make up 17.8 % of the membership of large company boards and every week spend three times as long as men on household chores (e.g. caring for children, elderly people and people with disabilities and performing household tasks);

O.     whereas 37 % of the Members of the newly elected European Parliament, 9 out of the 28 new Commissioners and 7 out of the 28 judges at the Court of Justice of the European Union are women;

P.     whereas the female unemployment rate is underestimated given the fact that many women are not registered as unemployed, particularly those who live in rural or remote areas, along with many of those who devote themselves exclusively to household tasks and childcare; whereas this situation also creates a disparity in terms of access to public services (benefits, a pension, maternity leave, sick leave, access to social security, etc.);

Q.     whereas if the present trends continue, the target of 75 % of women in employment will not be reached until 2038 and equal pay will not become a reality before 2084; whereas equal representation in national parliaments, in the EU institutions and on European company boards could be achieved by 2034, but whereas it would take until 2054 before housework was shared equally;

R.     whereas the failure to promote policies providing for a work-life balance in general and the lack of affordable and high-quality childcare facilities and assistance services for the elderly and people requiring special care, in particular, pose a major obstacle to women’s economic independence and their rise to positions of responsibility, and to the equal participation of women and men in the labour market, including as a means of preventing and reducing poverty;

S.     whereas the sharing of family and domestic responsibilities between men and women, to be brought about not least through a greater uptake of parental leave and paternity leave, is essential in order to achieve gender equality; whereas a quarter of Member States do not offer paternity leave;

T.     whereas traditional gender roles and stereotypes continue to have a strong influence on the division of roles between women and men in the home, in the workplace and in society at large, thereby limiting women’s range of employment choices and their personal and professional development, thereby impeding them from realising their full potential as individuals and as economic players;

U.     whereas the media can play a role, on the one hand, in spreading stereotypes, degrading the image of women and over-sexualising young girls and, on the other hand, in overcoming gender stereotypes, encouraging women’s participation in decision making and promoting gender equality;

V.     whereas the Council has still not responded officially to two legislative resolutions adopted by Parliament on key aspects of gender equality, namely its resolutions of 20 October 2010 on the proposed maternity leave directive and 20 November 2013 on the proposal for a directive on gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges and related measures;

W.    whereas in its report of 6 December 2013 on the application of Directive 2006/54/EC, the Commission raised questions concerning 26 Member States on the conformity of their national legislation with the directive’s new provisions(34);

X.     whereas, according to the FRA survey of March 2014, one in three women in the EU has been physically and/or sexually assaulted, while one in five has suffered physical violence after the age of 15 and almost one in two has experienced psychological violence; whereas violence against women constitutes a breach of fundamental rights which bears potentially serious psychological consequences, affects all levels of society, regardless of age, education, income, social position and country of origin or residence, and is one of the least reported crimes; whereas violence against women is one of the main obstacles to true equality between women and men;

Y.     whereas violence against women and girls on the internet is on the rise, with the behaviour of minors on social networks proving to be exceptionally worrying in this regard;

Z.     whereas the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings will end in 2016; whereas, according to the 2014 Eurostat report on trafficking in human beings, the vast majority (80 %) of registered victims of trafficking in the EU are women and girls;

Aa.   whereas six Member States have still not signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) and only eight have ratified it;

Ab.   whereas gathering comparable accurate data, broken down by sex, is particularly important for public policy-making at national and EU level, especially where violence against women is concerned;

Ac.   whereas women have specific health issues and are less often than men the subjects in clinical trials, and these differences have important implications for women’s health;

Ad.   whereas girls and women, especially those aged between 15 and 24, are less involved than boys and men in physical activity, and whereas sport is a means of self-expression and fulfilment, as well as a force for citizenship and solidarity, and the regular practice of sport improves physical and mental health; whereas violence against women, stereotyping, differences in pay and barriers to women’s involvement in management can all be found in sport;

Ae.   whereas sexual and reproductive rights are fundamental human rights and should be taken into account in the EU’s action programme in the field of health;

Af.    whereas the Commission’s annual report on gender equality is a vital tool for gauging developments in the situation of women in Europe;

1.      Calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to mainstream the issues of gender, women’s rights and equal opportunities in their policy making, budget procedures and the implementation of EU programmes and activities, by means of pro-active measures, especially in connection with stimulus packages, by carrying out gender impact analyses on a case-by-case basis;

2.      Deplores the fact that the ‘Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015’ will soon fail to hit its targets, especially as regards economic independence, in part because of the withdrawal of the proposal for a maternity leave directive; stresses, at the same time, that economic differences between men and women have been gradually increasing;

3.      Calls on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to integrate a gender pillar into the Europe 2020 strategy to measure progress on reducing the gender gap in employment and in order to bring about the transfer of policy measures in the Annual Growth Survey into the country-specific recommendations (CSRs);

4.      Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop a general plan for investment into social infrastructure, as it has been estimated that with a gendered investment plan, European gross domestic product (GDP) would increase gradually, by 2.4 % more by 2018 than without such an investment plan;

5.      Notes that equal participation by women and men in the labour market could significantly increase the economic potential of the EU, while confirming its fair and inclusive nature; points out that, according to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projections, total convergence in participation rates would result in a 12.4 % increase in GDP per capita by 2030;

6.      Maintains that poverty among women, and older women and single mothers in particular, but also women who are victims of gender-based violence, women with disabilities, migrant women and women from minorities, needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency; calls on the Member States, therefore, to implement more effective inclusion strategies and make more efficient use of social policy resources, not least the European Social Fund and the Structural Funds;

7.      Finds it regrettable that the effectiveness of social policies in reducing poverty fell by almost 50 % in 2012 compared with 2005 in homes with just one adult, a situation which includes most widows and single mothers; is also concerned that the effectiveness of the social policies implemented in certain Member States amounts to only one third of the European average; calls, therefore, on Member States to strengthen social policies which target in particular the unemployed, in order to tackle rising poverty, especially among women;

8.      Calls on the Council and the Commission to address the gender dimension of poverty and social exclusion; finds it regrettable that the CSRs adopted so far as part of the annual European Semester cycles have not been sufficiently aligned with the Europe 2020 employment and social targets; calls for CSRs systemically to address the structural causes of female poverty;

9.      Calls on the Commission and the Member States to allow for changes in the family unit when drawing up their taxation and compensation policies, in particular by providing support to one-parent families and older people in the form of tax credits or health care assistance;

10.    Calls on the Member States and the Commission to ensure that equality between men and women and the integration of the gender perspective be taken into account in cohesion policy funds and promoted throughout the preparation and implementation thereof and in its programmes, including as regards monitoring, reporting and evaluation;

11.    Considers it unfortunate that the annual report now ranks only as a working document annexed to the report on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and urges the Commission to restore the full political legitimacy of the annual report by having it officially adopted in its own right;

12.    Points to the imperative need to reduce gender gaps in pay and pension also by addressing the persistent concentration of women in part-time, low-pay and precarious work and by securing care facilities of a sufficient quality for children and other dependents; deplores in the strongest possible terms the fact that more than a third of older women in the EU receive no form of pension; urges the Member States to give full effect to the rights provided for under Directive 2006/54/EC, including the principle of equal pay and pay transparency, and to revise their national laws on equal treatment with a view to the simplification and modernisation thereof; calls on the Commission to keep the transposition of gender equality directives under regular review and invites the Commission to propose a recast of Directive 2006/54/EC as soon as possible, in accordance with Article 32 thereof and on the basis of Article 157 TFEU, following the detailed recommendations set out in the annex to Parliament’s resolution of 24 May 2012;

13.    Deplores in the strongest possible terms the fact that women do not receive the same salary in cases where they hold the same jobs as men or jobs of equal value, and condemns, equally, both horizontal and vertical segregation; emphasises, furthermore, the fact that the vast majority of low salaries and almost all very low salaries are paid for part-time work and points out that about 80 % of the working poor are women; points out that according to the European Added Value Assessment conclusions, a decrease of one percentage point in the gender gap in pay would bring about an increase of 0.1 % in economic growth, which means that it is crucially important to close the gap that exists in the current economic downturn; calls, therefore, on the Member States, employers and trade union movements to draft and implement serviceable, specific job evaluation tools to help determine work of equal value and thus ensure equal pay between men and women;

14.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to implement proactive policies to promote good jobs for women in order to meet the Europe 2020 targets by combating stereotypes and vertical and horizontal occupational segregation, encouraging the transition from part- to full-time work, and focusing in particular on the not-in-education-employment-or-training (NEET) category; calls on the Member States to set specific employment targets in the framework of their national reform programmes to ensure that women have the same opportunities as men to access and stay in the labour market;

15.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to implement proactive policies to encourage women to embrace careers in science and to promote, through information and awareness-raising campaigns in particular, entry by women into sectors traditionally viewed as ʽmaleʼ, notably the sciences and new technologies, with a view to benefiting fully from the human capital represented by European women; stresses, in particular, that information and communications technology (ICT) offers new opportunities and calls upon the Commission to ensure that gender be fully mainstreamed in the priority accorded to the digital agenda in the next five years;

16.    Stresses that financial independence is a key means of securing equality and that entrepreneurship among women constitutes an underestimated and underexploited potential for growth and competitiveness in the EU; calls, therefore, on the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) to collect more and better data on entrepreneurship among women; calls on the Member States, the Commission, other relevant bodies, such as chambers of commerce, and industry to encourage, promote and support entrepreneurship among women by facilitating access to credit, cutting red tape and other obstacles to start-ups by women, mainstreaming a gender perspective in the relevant policies, promoting the creation of a single multilingual electronic data and exchange platform for women social entrepreneurs, and supporting regional and Europe-wide mentoring and peer-to-peer networks;

17.    Believes that helping women to return to the labour market requires a multidimensional policy (involving vocational training and lifelong learning, and the promotion of more stable employment and tailored working patterns) and draws attention to the increasing prevalence of flexible working hours; points out that demand for flexibility is greatest among part-time workers, the majority of whom are women; maintains, therefore, that collective bargaining is a right which must be protected inasmuch as it helps to combat discrimination and safeguard and enhance rights;

18.    Emphasises the fact that increased flexibility in working arrangements can increase women’s opportunities to participate actively in the labour market, but notes, at the same time, that this flexibility can have a negative impact on women’s wages and pensions; points, therefore, to the need for specific work-life balance proposals, and encourages men and women to share occupational, family, and social responsibilities more evenly, especially in cases where assistance to dependants and childcare are concerned;

19.    Asks the Member States to include strategies in rural development programmes to boost the number of jobs for women in rural areas, thereby assuring them of decent pensions, and policies which promote the presence of women on political, economic and social forums in said sector and which further the promotion of equal opportunities in rural areas in line with the multifunctionality of agriculture;

20.    Emphasises the growing consensus within the EU as regards the need to promote gender equality through, inter alia, the presence of women in economic and political decision making and, which is a question of fundamental rights and democracy, given that it currently reflects a democratic deficit; welcomes, therefore, the legislated parity systems and gender quotas introduced in some Member States and calls on the Council to state its position on the directive on gender balance among non-executive directors of listed companies so as to enable the legislative process to be continued as soon as possible; calls on the Council and the Commission to take the measures necessary to encourage the Member States to enable women and men to participate on an equal footing in the various spheres of decision-making; calls also for the EU institutions to do everything in their power to guarantee gender equality in the College of Commissioners and in high-level positions in all EU institutions, agencies, institutes and bodies;

21.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to examine whether gender clauses may be included in public procurement tender notices in order to encourage businesses to strive towards gender equality in their ranks; acknowledges that EU legislation on competition must be complied with in developing this idea;

22.    Congratulates Sweden, Belgium, France, Slovenia, Denmark and the United Kingdom on achieving the Barcelona objectives and calls on the other Member States to continue their efforts; calls on the Member States to go beyond the Barcelona objectives by adopting a more systematic and integrated approach, to be implemented jointly by national and local authorities, to education and preschool care services, in particular for very young children under the age of three; calls on the Commission to provide continuing financial support to Member States so that they can offer childcare systems – in particular by means of crèches – that parents can afford, including through the establishment of these facilities in the workplace; believes that the right balance can be struck between family plans, private life and professional ambitions only if the people concerned have genuine freedom of choice, in economic and social terms, and are supported by political and economic decisions at EU and national level without being penalised, and if the requisite infrastructure is in place; calls on the Member States to increase their child support budgets, specifically by expanding public networks of day care centres, nurseries and services which offer extracurricular activities for children; calls also on the Commission to address the lack of affordable childcare facilities in its CSRs;

23.    Deplores in the strongest possible terms the fact that, despite the level of EU funding available (EUR 3.2 billion from the structural funds for the 2007-2013 period was earmarked to assist Member States in developing childcare facilities and promoting employment for women), certain Member States have made budget cuts that are affecting the availability (e.g. as a result of nursery closures) and quality (e.g. as a result of staffing shortfalls) of childcare services and rendering them more expensive;

24.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to establish paid paternity leave of at least ten working days and to promote measures, legislative and otherwise, enabling men, and fathers in particular, to exercise their right to achieve a work-life balance through, inter alia, the promotion of parental leave, to be taken by either the father or mother, but without swapping between them, until their child has reached a given age;

25.    Deplores the deadlock in the Council regarding the maternity leave directive; urges the Member States to resume the negotiations thereon and reiterates its willingness to cooperate;

26.    Calls on the Member States to establish affordable, flexible, high-quality and easily accessible services for the care of people who are unable to cope with everyday tasks by themselves due to fact that they do not possess the functional autonomy they need to strike a balance between their personal, family and working lives;

27.    Calls on the Commission to encourage ratification at national level and to initiate the procedure for EU accession to the Istanbul Convention as quickly as possible; notes that the immediate accession of all Member States to the Istanbul Convention would lead to the development of an integrated policy and the promotion of international cooperation in the fight against all forms of violence against women;

28.    Renews its call on the Commission to submit a proposal under Article 84 TFEU for a legislative act establishing measures to promote and support the action of Member States in the field of preventing violence against women and girls, by supporting a comprehensive and effective policy framework on gender-based violence, focusing on prevention, the prosecution of perpetrators, the protection of victims and appropriate and adequate service provision and teaching on equality, and by introducing penalties for discriminatory or violent behaviour towards women; calls, furthermore, on the Member States to work systematically on empowering women in reporting violence to authorities, and on the education and training of experts who deal with the victims;

29.    Calls on the Commission to ensure the effective and adequately resourced implementation of its communication on the elimination of female genital mutilation;

30.    Asks the Council to activate the passerelle clause and to adopt a unanimous decision identifying gender violence as an area of crime listed under Article 83(1) TFEU, which already covers trafficking in human beings and the sexual exploitation of women and children;

31.    Calls on the Commission to better regulate the digital market with the aim of protecting women and girls against violence on the internet;

32.    Recommends that, in their national action plans to eliminate domestic violence, Member States lay down the obligation to support undocumented migrant women in exactly the same way as women staying legally, without any requirement for institutions to report such cases to the authorities;

33.    Recommends that the Member States strengthen their free public health services in order to support all women subjected to violence, including refugees, through, inter alia, increasing their capacity, with specialised assistance being provided to women of different nationalities and to women with disabilities;

34.    Renews its call on the Commission and the Member States to make 2016 the European year against violence against women by granting sufficient resources for awareness raising; stresses, to this end, that it is necessary to provide adequate training for the authorities and services involved, as well as for professionals, such as police officers, doctors, magistrates, lawyers, teachers and anyone who could, by virtue of their occupation, provide assistance to women who have been victims of violence;

35.    Asks the Commission to put together a European protection order register, in view of the fact that the Member States’ deadline for transposing Directive 2011/99/EU on the European protection order expired on 11 January 2015;

36.    Recognises that, in regions affected by war, violence against women represents a clear violation of women’s fundamental rights and manifests itself through the humiliating and degrading treatment of women; stresses that gender equality is essential for building peace, as it is an expression of the need to prevent and fight against phenomena such as these which affect women;

37.    Calls on the EIGE and Eurostat to keep collecting comparable data, in particular harmonised data on violence, in order to provide Member States and the Commission with the tools needed for effective policy making; calls also on the Commission and the Member States to direct their attention to the situation in Member States as regards the institutional machinery in place to promote gender equality, the objective being to prevent this from being damaged in the future by the effects of the economic crisis and the reforms that it is entailing, bearing in mind that, without such institutional machinery, the cross-cutting priority assigned to gender equality in every policy sphere, and the specific means of addressing it, will not translate into results;

38.    Calls on the Commission to safeguard the Daphne programme – both in terms of its funding and visibility – in the Rights and Citizenship programme in order to ensure that associations working to stop violence against women may continue their work;

39.    Calls, once again, on the Commission to set up a European monitoring centre on gender violence (along the lines of the current European Institute for Gender Equality), to be led by a European coordinator for the prevention of violence against women and girls;

40.    Urges the Commission to strongly condemn media campaigns and other communications depicting victims of sexual violence as being responsible for these acts, as such assumptions go against all the basic principles of gender equality;

41.    Points to the decisive role of education in combating gender stereotypes and ending gender-based discrimination; stresses that boys and men need to be included in promoting womenʼs rights and gender equality; calls, therefore, on the Commission to take decisive policy action to fight gender stereotypes and suggest to the Member States that they raise awareness of equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women in their educational systems;

42.    Asks the Council and the Commission to take steps to make sure that social media use language in a non-sexist way, ensure that women participate actively and are represented in a balanced way, and ensure that there are diverse images of both sexes, going beyond general concepts of beauty and sexist stereotypes of roles carried out in different areas of life, in particular where content aimed at children and young people is concerned;

43.    Asks the Member States, following the adoption of the Council conclusions on gender equality in sport, to make full use of the opportunities offered by sport to promote gender equality, notably by defining specific action plans to combat stereotypes and violence, favour equality among professional sportsmen and sportswomen, and promote sport for women;

44.    Points out that various studies show that abortion rates in countries in which abortion is legal are similar to those in countries in which it is banned, and are often even higher in the latter (World Health Organisation, 2014);

45.    Maintains that women must have control over their sexual and reproductive health and rights, not least by having ready access to contraception and abortion; supports, accordingly, measures and actions to improve women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services and inform them more fully about their rights and the services available; calls on the Member States and the Commission to implement measures and actions to make men aware of their responsibilities for sexual and reproductive matters;

46.    Emphasises the importance of active prevention, education and information policies aimed at teenagers, young people and adults to ensure that sexual and reproductive health among the public is good, thereby preventing sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies;

47.    Calls on the Member States, when applying Regulation (EU) No 536/2014 in clinical trials of medicinal products for human use, to ensure equality in the representation of men and women in clinical trials, paying special attention to transparency as regards the gender composition of participants; calls on the Commission, when considering the proper implementation of this regulation, specifically to monitor aspects of equality between women and men;

48.    Points out that the EU ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 22 January 2012 and that, under this convention, States Parties must undertake to ensure and promote the full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability and to refrain from engaging in any act or practice that is inconsistent with the convention;

49.    Calls on the Commission to vigorously promote gender equality in the context of the EU’s external relations with third countries, thereby strengthening its comprehensive strategic approach as regards equality; stresses, in this connection, the importance of stepping up cooperation with international and regional organisations with a view to promoting gender equality and improving awareness of women’s rights;

50.    Calls on the EU to put an end to policies establishing dependency between family members in the framework of family reunion, and calls for the EU and its Member States to grant migrant women autonomous residence status, especially in cases of domestic violence;

51.    Calls on the Commission to ensure that gender equality and womenʼs rights be included in all partnership agreements and in all negotiations with non-EU countries;

52.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments of the Member States.

(1)

OJ L 181, 29.6.2013, p. 4.

(2)

OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 57.

(3)

OJ L 338, 21.12.2011, p. 2.

(4)

OJ L 101, 15.4.2011, p. 1.

(5)

Council conclusions of 7 March 2011.

(6)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0105.

(7)

OJ L 180, 15.7.2010, p. 1.

(8)

OJ L 68, 18.3.2010, p. 13.

(9)

OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.

(10)

OJ L 367, 14.12. 2004, p. 23.

(11)

OJ L 348, 28.11.1992, p. 1.

(12)

OJ L 359, 19.12.1986, p. 56.

(13)

OJ L 6, 10.1.1979, p. 24.

(14)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0375.

(15)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0073.

(16)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0247.

(17)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0074.

(18)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0045.

(19)

OJ C 353 E, 3.12.2013, p. 47.

(20)

OJ C 264 E, 13.9.2013, p. 75.

(21)

OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p. 35.

(22)

OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 65.

(23)

3 Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0069.

(24)

OJ C 33 E, 5.2.2013, p. 134.

(25)

OJ C 296 E, 2.10.2012, p. 26.

(26)

OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 77.

(27)

OJ C 236 E, 12.8.2011, p. 79.

(28)

OJ C 67 E, 18.3.2010, p. 31.

(29)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0162.

(30)

OJ C 233 E, 28.9.2006, p. 130.

(31)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0126.

(32)

OJ C 67 E, 18.3.2010, p. 31.

(33)

1 OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.

(34)

Report on the application of Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast) (COM(2013)0861).


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

European economies and societies have been hit hard by the crisis. Austerity has to be followed by a return to growth to enable Europe to become the smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy that the Europe 2020 strategy calls for.

In order to meet the ambitious targets set by Europe 2020, there are a number of key issues which, in the opinion of the rapporteur, have to be addressed.

First of all, gender and women’s rights must be mainstreamed into policy-making and budget procedures, especially in connection with stimulus packages, and gender impact analyses must invariably be carried out. The errors of the austerity policies cannot and must not be repeated.

As regards the more specific Europe 2020 goals, not only must the EU reach the 75% employment target, but it is also essential to improve the quality of employment.

Despite the efforts of the Commission and the Member States, the increase in the female employment rate is still no better than sluggish. Since 2002 the rate has risen from 58.1% to 62.8%, and it has been hit by the crisis. If the current trend continues, the Europe 2020 target will not be met until 2038. The most pressing priority, therefore, is to encourage women to enter the labour market.

This implies a need for good jobs. The impact of the crisis on the quality of women’s employment is proving to be calamitous: part-time working is becoming increasingly common, and women are finding it more and more difficult to escape; jobs are becoming more insecure, a fact reflected in the growing use of temporary contracts; and women, who are over-represented in public services, are consequently suffering on two counts, to say nothing of the growing malaise at work and the effects on family members, especially children.

Combined with these cyclical factors there are long-standing structural phenomena, in particular the unchanging gender pay gap. If the present trend continues, women and men will not be earning equivalent salaries before 2084. The most urgent thing to do, in the rapporteur’s opinion, is to enforce Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation. Out of the Member States, there are 26 which have yet to answer the Commission’s questions as to whether their national legislation is in conformity with that directive. It is essential that Member States enforce the directive, not least as regards pay transparency, and give people proper access to information. According to the December 2012 OECD study entitled ‘Closing the gender gap – Act now’, the EU’s GDP could increase by 12% if women and men were truly equal on the labour market. The return to growth depends crucially on genuine occupational equality.

It is also vital for the Council to state its position on the Maternity Leave Directive. The directive now in force, which dates back to 1992, does not reflect the changes in society and does not afford the necessary protection to mothers. It therefore needs to be updated without delay. Parliament is willing, as it has repeatedly stated, to play its part in reaching a compromise.

The persistence of stereotypes is another worrying structural phenomenon. There has to be a change of attitudes in order to reduce horizontal and vertical segregation and ensure that women as well as men can at last carry on their desired occupations at their chosen levels of responsibility.

On a point related to stereotypes, the rapporteur considers it essential to encourage measures making for work-life balance, for instance by recognising the participation of fathers and mothers in family life and turning it to account.

If they are to calmly go about their business and contribute in the proper way to European growth, parents need to have access to services of a high standard offering full-time childcare. According to the Commission report of 3 June 2013 on the Barcelona objectives entitled ‘The development of childcare facilities for young children in Europe with a view to sustainable and inclusive growth’, six Member States have achieved those two goals: Sweden, Belgium, France, Slovenia, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. The cost of childcare, however, remains a major drawback. Out of those mothers who say that they do not work, or work only part time, for reasons connected with childcare provision, 53% consider price to be an obstacle. That figure is higher than 70% in Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania, and the United Kingdom.

The question of price brings us to the subject of poverty, which the rapporteur believes to be a key issue. One of the aims of the Europe 2020 strategy is to reduce the number of persons suffering, or threatened with, poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020. There are two groups who are particularly vulnerable to poverty: older women and single mothers.

22% of older women are at risk of poverty, compared with 16.3% of men. The precarious situation of older women is a direct result of the pay gap. Women’s pensions are, on average, 39% lower than those paid to men, and more than a third of older women in Europe do not receive any pension. Correctives need to be applied, for instance by altering taxation and compensation policies.

The above point also holds good for one-parent families, 35.5% of whom are vulnerable to poverty. 91% of lone parents are women. Social security systems are failing to reduce the poverty risks to which their families are exposed.

Combating violence against women is likewise a major issue for society. The rapporteur wishes to draw attention to Parliament’s views and to the importance of gathering comparable data on the Member States as a whole. The European Institute for Gender Equality has a crucial part to play.

Sexual and reproductive rights are also worthy of discussion. The issue here has to do with public health and with women’s fundamental right to do what they wish with their own bodies. Parliament has advocated essential political principles in the past, and these might usefully be mentioned here.

Last but not least, the rapporteur deplores the fact that the Commission’s annual report now ranks only as a working document annexed to the report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The political signal is a strong one: women’s rights are, apparently, a side issue. But reviewing the advances in gender equality must not be treated as a matter of minor importance. A return to growth depends on genuine equality between women and men. That is why the rapporteur is urging the Commission to restore the full political legitimacy of the report by having it officially adopted in its own right.


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

20.1.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

24

9

2

Members present for the final vote

Daniela Aiuto, Maria Arena, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Malin Björk, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Viorica Dăncilă, Iratxe García Pérez, Anna Hedh, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Vicky Maeijer, Angelika Mlinar, Krisztina Morvai, Maria Noichl, Marijana Petir, Terry Reintke, Liliana Rodrigues, Jordi Sebastià, Michaela Šojdrová, Ángela Vallina, Beatrix von Storch, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Anna Záborská, Jana Žitňanská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Biljana Borzan, Linnéa Engström, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Mariya Gabriel, Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, Kostadinka Kuneva, Dubravka Šuica, Marc Tarabella

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Rosa D’Amato

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