107

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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Human Rights

28-06-2019

In the 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the first international document to set common standards of achievement for all states – the pivotal role and moral, legal and political significance of human rights in the international arena have become indisputable. However, despite considerable progress in many areas on recognition, codification and implementation, human rights have also come under increased attack. Whether in theatres of war or in the political ...

In the 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the first international document to set common standards of achievement for all states – the pivotal role and moral, legal and political significance of human rights in the international arena have become indisputable. However, despite considerable progress in many areas on recognition, codification and implementation, human rights have also come under increased attack. Whether in theatres of war or in the political arena, human rights are now often rejected on ideological grounds. The EU itself has not been spared by the current backlash. In its Member States, a populist wave has empowered some political forces that increasingly question the significance of core human rights, such as the right to freedom of expression. In these troubled times for human rights, opinion polls show that European citizens perceive human rights as one of the most important values for them personally and one of the values that best represent the EU itself. Having emerged from World War II and its atrocities, European countries were determined to secure lasting peace, and the Union they created is founded on respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights, which guide and shape its legislation and policies. Within the EU, recent action has included new legislation on data protection and access to justice, the European Pillar of Social Rights, and initiatives to combat inequality, discrimination and hate speech. There is also an acknowledgement that more needs to be done to complete the legal framework to combat discrimination and strengthen internal mechanisms for upholding the rule of law. Human rights are additionally a general objective of EU external action. The EU is deeply committed to promoting human rights, as enshrined in international treaties, in its relations with third countries and with other multilateral regional and global institutions. During Parliament's last mandate, the EU consistently applied and deepened a range of policy approaches that strengthen its role and image as a normative power that inspires others through its example. Maintaining and consolidating this policy remains vital for preserving the EU's image and credibility as a normative power based on values, and one that has the capacity to act at a time when the principle of multilateralism is increasingly questioned. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Zero tolerance for female genital mutilation

05-02-2019

The European Union is committed to working collectively to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of broader efforts to combat all forms of violence against women and girls, and to support the efforts of its Member States in this field. The European Commission has undertaken to assess EU efforts to combat FGM every year, on or around the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on 6 February. This publication is a further update of an 'at a glance' note originally ...

The European Union is committed to working collectively to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of broader efforts to combat all forms of violence against women and girls, and to support the efforts of its Member States in this field. The European Commission has undertaken to assess EU efforts to combat FGM every year, on or around the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on 6 February. This publication is a further update of an 'at a glance' note originally published in January 2015, PE 548.971.

Domestic Sexual Abuse of Girls

19-11-2018

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. The study provides a definition and conceptual model of domestic sexual abuse of girls, as well as analyses of prevalence and risk factors across the EU. It goes on to review policies and actions to address domestic sexual abuse of girls at the EU and Member State levels, and sets out case studies of four countries. It ends by providing recommendations ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. The study provides a definition and conceptual model of domestic sexual abuse of girls, as well as analyses of prevalence and risk factors across the EU. It goes on to review policies and actions to address domestic sexual abuse of girls at the EU and Member State levels, and sets out case studies of four countries. It ends by providing recommendations for Member States and EU institutions.

Externý autor

Katie MCCRACKEN, Dr Ana FITZSIMONS, Sergio MARQUEZ, Małgorzata DRUCIAREK (Opcit Research), Prof Michelle LEFEVRE (University of Sussex)

Sexual and reproductive health rights and the implication of conscientious objection

31-10-2018

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. It aims to provide a comparative overview of the situation in the European Union, with particular focus on six selected Member States, in terms of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods (such as medicines) and services (such as abortion and family planning), from both legal and practical perspectives. The study looks at the extent ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. It aims to provide a comparative overview of the situation in the European Union, with particular focus on six selected Member States, in terms of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods (such as medicines) and services (such as abortion and family planning), from both legal and practical perspectives. The study looks at the extent to which conscientious objection affects access to sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR). The study will contribute to formulating a clear framework for the improvement of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods and services in the EU.

Externý autor

CF Consulting Services Ltd Ludovica ANEDDA, Lucy ARORA, Luca FAVERO, Nathalie MEURENS, Sophie MOREL, Martha SCHOFIELD (ICF); Senios experts: Prof Anette AGARDH (Lund University), Prof Els LEYE, independent consultant (Ghent University); National researchers: Czech Republic: Klara KOVAROVA (ICF); Croatia: Jelena MILOVANOVIC (ICF); Italy: Thomas TAYLOR-DI PIETRO, Ludovica ANEDDA (ICF); Poland: Krystyna KACPURA, Kamila FERENC (Federation for Women and Family Planning); Portugal: Dália COSTA (University of Lisbon); Sweden: Jack PALMIERI (Lund University).

Women in the Western Balkans: Gender equality in the EU accession process

18-07-2018

Equality between women and men, or gender equality, is a fundamental right and a common value, recognised by the EU. It has been a component of the European integration project from its outset. Enshrined in the EU Treaties, gender equality forms part of the accession conditions with which candidate and potential candidates from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) have to comply. Investing in gender equality ...

Equality between women and men, or gender equality, is a fundamental right and a common value, recognised by the EU. It has been a component of the European integration project from its outset. Enshrined in the EU Treaties, gender equality forms part of the accession conditions with which candidate and potential candidates from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) have to comply. Investing in gender equality, however, is essential not only as an EU requirement, but for an equal society. Although progress has been noted in these countries as regards gender equality, more work is still required. Equal opportunities would allow EU candidate countries to better tap into the potential and skills of women, and underpin achievements in areas such as economic growth, employment and social cohesion, as well as in peace-building. As part of their preparation for an EU future, the Western Balkan countries have taken steps to advance women's rights in recent years. These include adopting or amending relevant legislation (e.g. criminal and labour laws), elaborating national strategies and action plans, and establishing institutional mechanisms to carry out and monitor relevant policies. Nevertheless, promoting gender equality is often sidelined, and the action taken in this respect is insufficient. Ensuring equality between women and men remains 'unfinished business' in a region where traditional gender roles are deep-rooted and social attitudes and lack of awareness of women's rights are at the core of the problem. This Briefing aims to highlight the EU's efforts to promote gender equality as part of EU enlargement policy, and the way the EU strives to mainstream equality across the board. It also aims to cast light on some major challenges that women face in the Western Balkans, such as their weaker roles in economy and politics, and widespread gender-based violence. This follows up the June 2017 briefing on 'Rights and empowerment of women in the Western Balkans'.

Backlash in Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Rights

15-06-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, is designed to identify in which fields and by which means the backlash in gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights in six countries (Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia) is occurring. The backlash, which has been happening over the last several years, has decreased the level of protection of women and girls and reduced ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, is designed to identify in which fields and by which means the backlash in gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights in six countries (Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia) is occurring. The backlash, which has been happening over the last several years, has decreased the level of protection of women and girls and reduced access to their rights.

Externý autor

Borbála JUHÁSZ, indipendent expert to EIGE dr. Enikő PAP, legal expert on gender issues, NANE Women's Rights Association National experts: Christiane Ugbor, Sophie Hansal (Austria), Dr. Gabriella Ilonszki (Hungary), Siusi Casaccia (Italy), Zuzana Maďarová (Slovakia), Laura Albu (Romania), Małgorzata Tarasiewicz (Poland)

Bullying and sexual harassment at the workplace, in public spaces, and political life in the EU

15-03-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), provides a broad account and an in-depth analysis of bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace, in public spaces and in political life. In this study trends in understanding of phenomena are acknowledged, status and progress in research is accounted for, key issues of controversies and debate are ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), provides a broad account and an in-depth analysis of bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace, in public spaces and in political life. In this study trends in understanding of phenomena are acknowledged, status and progress in research is accounted for, key issues of controversies and debate are identified and recommendations for actions and intervention are provided.

Externý autor

Helge HOEL, University of Manchester, Maarit VARTA

Sexual harassment of women in the EU

01-03-2018

The issue of sexual harassment has been given significant media attention recently. Vastly under-reported, the true extent and gravity of the problem is not completely known. The most comprehensive survey available on violence against women at EU level (published by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in 2014) also reveals women’s experiences with sexual harassment. The respondents were given a list of 11 possible acts of sexual harassment, six of which were defined as ‘most serious’. It was possible ...

The issue of sexual harassment has been given significant media attention recently. Vastly under-reported, the true extent and gravity of the problem is not completely known. The most comprehensive survey available on violence against women at EU level (published by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in 2014) also reveals women’s experiences with sexual harassment. The respondents were given a list of 11 possible acts of sexual harassment, six of which were defined as ‘most serious’. It was possible to give more than one answer. Every second woman (55 %) in the EU has experienced sexual harassment at least once since the age of 15, and 45 % have experienced the ‘most serious’ forms of sexual harassment. Out of all the women who indicated at least one serious incident, 35 % did not speak to anyone about the incident, while 63 % spoke to somebody (2 % gave no answer).

One step forward and two steps back for human rights in the world

01-03-2018

On 13 December 2017, just a few days after the United Nations' Human Rights Day, the European Parliament (EP) adopted in plenary its annual resolution on human rights and democracy. Addressing the numerous pressures exerted on human rights in 2016, the resolution calls upon the European Union to place human rights at the centre of EU relations with all third countries and to lead by example. The resolution hails the step forward made for the empowerment of women, but also warns of two new challenges ...

On 13 December 2017, just a few days after the United Nations' Human Rights Day, the European Parliament (EP) adopted in plenary its annual resolution on human rights and democracy. Addressing the numerous pressures exerted on human rights in 2016, the resolution calls upon the European Union to place human rights at the centre of EU relations with all third countries and to lead by example. The resolution hails the step forward made for the empowerment of women, but also warns of two new challenges – backward steps – to human rights in the world. One is brought about by new technological developments, and the other by new trends in terrorism involving psychological intimidation through the destruction of heritage sites.

Gender equality in the EU’s digital and media sectors

01-03-2018

As the ‘digital revolution’ expands into more areas of our lives, from the way we work, to how we consume, look after our health, learn and take part in politics, it is increasingly clear that this is not just a purely technical – or economic – process, but also a social one, and one which is not gender-neutral. Analysis of the risks and benefits finds that new information and communication technologies can be a gateway for women and girls to access new opportunities, means of expression and participation ...

As the ‘digital revolution’ expands into more areas of our lives, from the way we work, to how we consume, look after our health, learn and take part in politics, it is increasingly clear that this is not just a purely technical – or economic – process, but also a social one, and one which is not gender-neutral. Analysis of the risks and benefits finds that new information and communication technologies can be a gateway for women and girls to access new opportunities, means of expression and participation, and a powerful tool for advancing gender equality. In employment, for example, the digital sector offers highly skilled, better-paid jobs that could help to eliminate the gender pay gap. Likewise, the convergence between traditional and online media is blurring the boundaries between consumers and creators, and opening spaces for new voices, forms of awareness-raising and mobilisation – as the recent wave of ‘hashtag activism’ against sexual harassment has shown. On the other hand, if access is unequal, if algorithms or content available online are gender biased or do not reflect women’s needs and realities, or if women themselves are not involved in shaping that content, digitalisation can reinforce existing gender inequalities. It can also create new risks and barriers, not least the colonisation of online spaces by misogyny and cyber-violence. The need to ensure digital inclusion, and tackle gender stereotyping and other barriers to access, skills, representation and safety affecting women and girls has been recognised globally in the Sustainable Development Goals, and within the EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy, together with the need for better data to inform action. The existing data point to a global digital gender divide. Within the EU, this is not so much a question of women and girls lacking basic internet access or skills – although there are gender differences, and the number of women who have never used the internet remains significant (14 % of women compared to 12 % of men). The gender gaps are much wider in advanced IT skills, tertiary education, employment and decision-making in the digital sector, with girls and women less likely to continue studying science and technology beyond the age of 15, enter or continue a career in ICT, reach specialist and managerial levels or start their own tech companies. Research highlights that children’s perceptions of their own abilities and career aspirations are shaped early, and strongly influenced by attitudes and expectations in families, peer groups, schools, and wider society – including limiting or positive images, messages and role models conveyed by traditional and new media. Media monitoring shows that there has been some progress, but women continue to be under-represented as reporters and decision-makers and misrepresented in coverage across the news media as well as in film and other sectors.

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