Procedure : 2007/2197(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0519/2007

Texts tabled :

A6-0519/2007

Debates :

PV 17/01/2008 - 3
CRE 17/01/2008 - 3

Votes :

PV 17/01/2008 - 6.6
CRE 17/01/2008 - 6.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0019

REPORT     
PDF 155kWORD 112k
20.12.2007
PE 391.958v02-00 A6-0519/2007

on the role of women in industry

(2007/2197(INI))

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Rapporteur: Ilda Figueiredo

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY, RESEARCH AND ENERGY
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the role of women in industry

(2007/2197(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 2, Article 3(2) and Articles 141 and 157 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to the new Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union proclaimed on 12 December 2007(1), in particular Articles 15, 23, 27, 28 and 31 thereof,

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: A policy framework to strengthen EU manufacturing - towards a more integrated approach for industrial policy’ (COM(2005)0474),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled: Tackling the pay gap between women and men (COM(2007)0424),

–   having regard to the Commission report on industrial relations in Europe 2006,

–   having regard to the Commission report on recent developments in the European sectoral social dialogue, published in 2006,

–   having regard to the conventions and recommendations of the International Labour Office on gender equality at work,

–   having regard to the framework for action on equality between men and women signed by the social partners at European level,

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 May 2007 on promoting decent work for all(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 September 2002 on the representation of women among the social partners of the European Union(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 3 February 2000 on the communication from the Commission entitled: ‘Women and science - Mobilising women to enrich European research’(4),

–   having regard to the public hearing held by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality on 5 June 2007 on the role of women in industry,

–   having regard to Rule 45 of the Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A6‑0000/2007),

A. whereas industry is of strategic importance in the various Member States of the European Union in creating prosperity and employment, and this role should be safeguarded,

B.  whereas the stereotypes which still exist in women’s educational and occupational options are contributing to their uneven spread in the industrial sector,

C. whereas the role of women in industry should at all times be based on the principles of equality of salaries and career prospects in order to promote women’s wider participation even in fields of industry not stereotypically assigned to women,

D. whereas the role of women in industry varies as a result of their variable representation in different sectors, specifically over-representation in some sectors (textiles, garments, embroidery, footwear, cork, cabling, electrical and electronic equipment, food) and under-representation in cutting-edge technology sectors, leading to differentiation in the problems encountered,

E.  whereas gender barriers still impede women’s progress in industry but are now more subtle than they used to be,

F.  whereas, in sectors where women represent the majority of workers, lower salaries predominate, reflecting the discriminatory treatment of women’s work, and whereas collective agreements generally fail to take sufficient account of the gender dimension and women’s specific needs, and more forcible efforts must be made ensure that existing legislation is put into effect,

G. whereas, on average, around 14% of women in employment in the EU work in industry, but this figure rises to 25% in some countries; whereas, of that average, more than 21% are employed on a part-time basis, and whereas women represent 65% of part-time workers in this sector,

H. whereas companies have a general duty to comply with the principle of equality at the workplace, regardless of their size or the sector in which they operate,

I.   whereas women in precarious, part-time, temporary and non-standard work suffer more discrimination, particularly when they become mothers, and generally have fewer opportunities for basic, life-long learning and vocational training; whereas women in precarious or part-time work are often unable to contribute consistently to a pension fund and are therefore at greater risk of not having a sufficient income with which to support themselves in later life,

J.   whereas the integrated vision of industrial policy advocated by the Commission (in the abovementioned Communication on ‘implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: a policy framework to strengthen EU manufacturing - towards a more integrated approach for industrial policy’) does not take sufficient account of the gender dimension, even though it includes economic and social cohesion among its objectives,

K. whereas the manufacturing industry, in which 86% of the female industrial workforce is concentrated, comprises 99% small and medium-sized undertakings (SMEs), which employ around 58% of the total workforce in this sector,

L.  whereas the development of work in industry is currently characterised more by the erosion of traditional patterns of employment than by an improvement in working conditions and career opportunities, particularly for women,

M. whereas the cultural attitude that considers industry as an inappropriate field for women leads to discrimination, which in turn leads to the demotivation of women workers, a reduction in their work performance, their withdrawal from careers, depreciation of their skills and a further reduction in the opportunities they enjoy,

N. whereas there is a close link between the lack of childcare structures, involuntary recourse to part-time work and the lack of training opportunities and reinstatement aid, which threatens to leave women in the least qualified posts without adequate career prospects,

O. whereas there are few gender-differentiated statistics on the division of labour in the various occupational categories and the corresponding wage levels in industrial sectors,

P.  whereas the health risks and types of occupational illness may be different for women and for men, and it is therefore important to analyse current situations and their consequences and study them in greater depth, also taking account of specific consequences as regards childbearing,

Q. whereas continuing education and accelerated learning increase the productivity of women and the contribution they make,

R.  whereas a non-discriminatory working environment is the only kind capable of nurturing the productive potential of both female and male employees and it is essential to create a climate in which every individual is valued and his or her goals are recognised,

1.  Highlights the role of women in industry and encourages action to promote women’s position in relation to wage equality, working conditions, career opportunities, vocational training, with maternity and paternity being borne in mind as fundamental social values;

2.  Encourages Member States to promote female entrepreneurship in the industrial sector and to provide financial support for women setting up companies;

3.  Emphasises the need to encourage women working in industry to continuously acquire the skills they need to be successful in their careers;

4.  Draws attention to the fact that there are many underlying causes at every stage of career development that lead to an inhospitable climate for women in industry, such as recruitment and hiring practices that create de facto entry barriers for women, different standards for women and men, disparities in the distribution of highly qualified job assignments and the gender pay gap; believes therefore, that each of these underlying causes must be addressed by specific policies designed by the Commission and the Member States;

5.  Recognises the need for an integrated industrial policy that takes account of the indispensable driving force of competitiveness, while guaranteeing workers’ social and economic rights;

6.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to urge large companies to draw up and introduce their own negotiated equality programmes on a compulsory basis and also to encourage small and medium-sized undertakings to do likewise;

7.  Affirms that the promotion of decent work forms an integral part of the European Union’s values and calls on the Member States to take effective measures with a view to complying with social standards and guaranteeing decent work in the various industrial sectors, thereby ensuring decent incomes for workers, and in particular women, the right to safety and health at work, to social protection and trade union freedom and thus largely contributing to abolishing all forms of discrimination between men and women at work;

8.  Calls on Member States to take all the necessary measures effectively to combat the exploitation of women at work, which is most common in certain sectors such as the textile industry, in order to ensure that the basic rights of workers, in particular women, are respected and that social dumping is prevented;

9.  Is of the opinion that the role of women in any industrial sector cannot be viewed in isolation from the state of industry in the European Union generally, the challenges that industry in the EU is facing or the need for appropriate answers;

10. Welcomes the fact that, according to the latest available statistics, exports to countries outside the EU in many sectors have maintained their proportion of total turnover, which is a sign of the competitiveness of the EU in those fields; expresses nonetheless its concern as to the stagnant domestic demand in a number of Member States, the increasing imports from outside the EU and the persistent phenomenon of sectoral job losses in the EU, often affecting women;

11. Stresses the need for urgent measures for full and effective implementation of Directive 75/117 EEC(5) in order to combat wage discrimination, particularly by greater trade union involvement and by drawing up phased sectoral plans, with precise targets, which will make it possible to put an end to direct and indirect wage discrimination;

12. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take all necessary measures to ensure protection against sexual and gender-based harassment;

13. Considers it important to look into the establishment of a methodology for analysing exactly what jobs entail, that will guarantee the right to equal pay for women and men, give proper recognition to individuals and occupations and, at the same time, raises work to the level of a structuring factor, with a view to increasing the productivity, competitiveness and quality of undertakings and improving the lives of workers, both women and men;

14. Considers it important to implement EQUAL projects aimed at giving proper status to work to promote equality, and stresses the importance of supporting pilot projects seeking to analyse exactly what jobs entail with a view to guaranteeing the right to equal pay for women and men and giving proper recognition to individuals and occupations;

15. Stresses the need to encourage initiatives that contribute to setting up and implementing in companies positive and human resources policies and positive measures promoting gender equality, and to encourage information and training measures making it possible to promote, transfer and incorporate practices that have been successful in organisations and companies;

16. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to be more active and to do more to raise awareness and monitor undertakings in respect of compliance with codes of conduct and corporate social responsibility criteria in their daily work as well as guaranteeing better working conditions, paying attention to working time, compliance with maternity and paternity rights, notably by guaranteeing reinstatement at work following maternity and parental leave, and reconciling working life and family life, and calls on them to enshrine these rights in legislation; stresses the need to create conditions that will facilitate the sharing of family responsibilities;

17. Recommends that there should be more choice in the workplace, thereby enabling men and women to have greater options for the development of both their family lives and their working careers; believes that work should be much more readily available to men and women to match their changing needs;

18. Calls on the Member States to introduce better, more flexible and portable pensions; recalls its position at first reading on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on improving the portability of supplementary pension rights(6);

19. Emphasises the need for reliable social services network and for flexibility in pre-school and primary school facilities, in order to support employed women during the time they are engaged in the upbringing of their children;

20. Emphasises the fact that long working hours put employees under great amounts of pressure and have a negative impact on their health, well-being and satisfaction with life; calls, in this context, on the Commission to conduct a thorough investigation into how long working hours affect family life and the health of working parents and a comparative study between Member States of the familial/social/health consequences of long working hours;

21. Calls on the Member States to honour companies that take action to in favour of equality between women and men and facilitate work-life balance, in order to foster the spread of good practices in this area;

22. Stresses the need to ensure that measures taken in the field of reconciling professional, family and private life do not lead to the separation or gender-stereotyping of the roles of men and women and are in line with the priorities of the Roadmap for Gender Equality 2006-2010, in particular as regards women’s full and equal involvement in the labour market and their economic independence, and calls on the Member States to ensure comprehensive access to affordable social services, such as crèches, nurseries, leisure facilities for children and support for elderly people, which otherwise tend to be provided by women; calls for effective technical and, where possible, financial support or incentives for SME employers to implement these policies and practices;

23. Stresses the importance of negotiations and collective bargaining in the fight to abolish discrimination against women, in particular with regard to employment, wages, working conditions, careers and professional training;

24. Calls on the Commission and the sectoral social partners to define high standards for health protection at work that take account of the gender dimension, and in particular maternity protection, at the level of research, control and preventive measures; notes that women are overrepresented in sectors in which repetitive movements are responsible for occupational diseases such as musculo-skeletal disorders, and that special consideration should be given to such conditions;

25. Encourages the Commission and the Member States to devote more attention to the gender dimension in national studies and surveys;

26. Emphasises the fact that most studies into the working poor show that single-income households, especially where women earn that income, are particularly affected by poverty; stresses that the eradication of poverty and social exclusion must remain a political priority for the European Union; calls on the Commission and Member States to specify and pursue an ambitious objective of reducing the number of working poor in Europe;

27. Calls on the Commission to promote professional training policies and programmes, including the development of computer literacy skills, aimed at women in order to increase their participation in various sectors of industry, taking into account existing financial support available at local, national and Community levels and creating greater incentives to use these for large companies and SMEs alike;

28. Calls on the Commission to intensify the support given to vocational training programmes for women in industrial SMEs and support for research and innovation, in line with the 7th Framework Programme and the European Charter for Small Enterprises approved at Santa Maria da Feira Charter in June 2000;

29. Calls on the Commission to support education, higher education and vocational training; stresses that education is an essential way for women to overcome the gender-segmented labour market;

30. Calls for the widest possible distribution of the Strategic Research Agenda of the European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing and urges all stakeholders to move towards innovative technologies and business models which have a balanced participation of women and men at all levels;

31. Regrets women’s scant participation in organisations set up by the social partners, and invites the social partners to intensify training on gender equality for negotiators and those responsible for collective agreements, and to strengthen women’s participation in their decision-making bodies;

32. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage a balanced representation of women and men on the management boards of companies, particularly where the Member States are shareholders;

33. Welcomes the Norwegian Government’s decision to implement measures to increase the number of women on the boards of public companies to at least 40% until 2003 and to impose by law a 40% quota of female representation on the boards of joint stock companies by the end 2005; calls on the Member States to follow the Norwegian example;

34. Stresses the need to encourage the creation of women’s networks within individual companies, between companies in the same industrial field and between the different industrial fields;

35. Regrets the low proportion of women in the advanced technology sector and stresses the importance of operational educational and training programmes in science and technology, guaranteeing the quality and diversification of training opportunities for women in the various Member States and the promotion of scientific and technological studies for girls;

36. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to develop and implement strategies to address discrepancies in the work environment and the career development of women working in science and technology;

37. Considers it important to disseminate existing good practice regarding women’s participation in industrial research and cutting-edge industries; stresses, in this context, the importance of raising awareness of the gender perspective among management in industrial undertakings with low female participation, which should be reflected in numerical objectives;

38. Encourages the Member States and the Commission to take account of women’s specific situation in industry in all related policies, in particular in the sectors affected by structural changes and measures in the field of world trade, whether in relation to employment issues, vocational training or health and safety at work;

39. Stresses the need to retrain women over 50 to enhance their employability even during transition periods; calls on the Member States to increase life-long learning possibilities;

40. Recognises that some regions are characterised by a high concentration of undertakings in the textile and garment sector, on which women’s employment is heavily dependent, particularly those coming from less-favoured regions of the EU; calls for particular attention to be paid to the import of products from third countries;

41. Stresses the need to support the development of less-favoured regions, areas with permanent structural disadvantages, the outermost regions and areas affected by recent deindustrialisation or industrial restructuring in order to strengthen economic and social cohesion and women’s social inclusion in these areas and regions;

42. Considers that relocations have affected industries with a high concentration of female labour, such as textiles, clothing, footwear, cabling, ceramics, electrical and electronic equipment and various segments of the food industry, and that this situation more seriously affects Member States with a lower level of economic development, causing unemployment and jeopardising economic and social cohesion;

43. Stresses the need to monitor the relocation of companies in EU Member States and reorientate the policy on granting Community funds so as to guarantee jobs and regional development;

44. Calls for Community aid not to be granted to companies which, after benefiting from such funding in a Member State, transfer their production to another country without fully implementing contracts concluded with the Member State concerned;

45. Recommends that the Commission closely monitor the current processes of closure and relocation of industrial undertakings and demand that funds granted be returned in the event of irregularities;

46. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to take account of the gender dimension when distributing European Global Adjustment Fund aid, so as to ensure that such aid also reaches sectors with a high concentration of female labour;

47. Stresses the need to concentrate on controlled structural change in the textile industry and the need to direct and encourage women to undertake further education in order to improve their employability in the growing branches of industry;

48. Stresses the importance of Community programmes that encourage the creation of trademarks, the protection of products’ designation of origin and the external promotion of Community products from industrial sectors where women predominate, in particular at professional and international trade fairs, promoting women’s work and guaranteeing women’s employment;

49. Considers that, among the measures to be taken by the Commission, in particular in the context of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations, account must be taken of the context and specific characteristics of each sector, the opportunities and challenges facing each sector and the difficulties encountered by each Member State, specifically as regards women’s employment and women’s rights;

50. Insists on protection for the rights of female and male workers in restructuring processes affecting industrial undertakings, on the need to guarantee their structures, in particular the European Works Councils, full access to information and the possibility of decisive intervention throughout the process, including the right to vote, and on the need to define the criteria for the compensation that would be owed to workers in the event of the undertaking failing to comply with its contractual obligations;

51. Calls on those responsible inside firms to include flexible family policy measures in their workforce management plan to make it easier for employees to return to work after a career break;

52. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission.

(1)

OJ C 303, 14.12.2007, p. 1.

(2)

Texts adopted of that date, P6_TA(2007)0206.

(3)

OJ C 273 E, 14.11.2003, p. 169.

(4)

OJ C 309, 27.10.2000, p. 57.

(5)

Council Directive 75/117/EEC of 10 February 1975 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women (OJ L 45, 19.2.1975, p. 19).

(6)

Texts adopted, 20.6.2007, P6_TA(2007)0269.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

I. Introduction

European industry is undergoing significant change, but it retains strategic importance for the development of all European Union Member States, and it is therefore worth considering the sector from the point of view of equality between men and women.

There is a wide range of highly heterogeneous sectors, in which the presence, role and prospects of women working in those sectors differ considerably.

On the one hand, the ‘traditional’ sectors in which women are employed are concentrated in the manufacturing industry, with around 85% of total female industrial employment. On the other hand there are the newly emerging ICT sectors, with 15%, and cutting-edge industry (aeronautics, chemical industry), where women are represented only to a small extent.

The Eurostat study on labour forces in the European Union shows that, of around 200 million people employed or exercising an economic activity in the European Union, more than 44% are women. On average, more than 14% of employed women work in industry, with this percentage rising to 25% or more in some countries, reaching a peak of 28% in Bulgaria and various other new Member States in Eastern Europe such as the Czech Republic (26%), Slovakia and Romania, and standing at around 20% in other countries such as Greece, Hungary and Portugal.

It might also be noted that, in many cases, this takes the form of part-time employment (more than 21%), and that women represent around 65% of part-time workers in this sector.

II. Employment and industrial policy

Studying the situation of women in industry entails an analysis of various Community policies in order to highlight the common priorities, specific characteristics, divergences and contradictions.

The Commission placed its analysis of industry in the context of the Lisbon Strategy in its communication (COM(2005)0474) on ‘implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: a policy framework to strengthen EU manufacturing - towards a more integrated approach for industrial policy’.

Inter alia, this document states that the Commission stands by its commitments to apply an industrial policy aimed at encouraging and facilitating the process of industrial innovation and change, stressing that the communication on the action programme for growth and employment noted that industrial policy is based on a partnership between the EU and Member States.

However, the challenges in relation to employment set out in this document take no account of the gender dimension, and consequently they do not give due recognition to women’s participation in some sectors of industry, where they are generally relegated to unskilled work which makes them more vulnerable in the event of restructuring. It is therefore important to stress the need for systematic recourse to gender mainstreaming when shaping Community industrial policy.

This methodical approach, which should include active participation by all the social partners, should enable an assessment to be made for all the parties concerned by the challenges, sector by sector, taking account of the level of employability and of economic, social and regional cohesion. An undertaking’s loss of competitiveness may result from a workforce left unprepared for technological changes or from an inability to retain human resources owing to an inadequate conciliation policy or the prevalence of competition and world trade priorities to the detriment of women’s rights and economic and social cohesion. Consequently the risks are profoundly feminised, since the parties involved are primarily women in the most fragile industrial sectors.

III. The statistical problem

The investigations made show that there is a lack of data broken down by gender and function in undertakings, which makes it difficult to draw comparisons between the various sectors and makes it impossible to carry out a sufficiently precise assessment of the gender-based differentiation of functions. These shortcomings have significant repercussions both for the assessment of the actual wage gap and the analysis of career development for women within undertakings. It has been established that in some sectors there are still wage differences of around 20% between men and women in similar jobs. Moreover, the professional categories where women predominate have lower wages, and it is still common to find majority male management in factories with predominantly female staff.

For example, the EIRO study on an integrated approach to gender equality in industrial relations highlights the problem of quantitative statistical data. It is important to improve the collection of qualitative data (for example on good practices), including in relation to collective labour agreements, above all the legal status of and degree of compliance with clauses relating to equal rights and opportunities.

But it is also important to develop and improve the collection of gender-differentiated statistics so that the gender dimension can be better assessed and explored in national studies and surveys/investigations on working conditions with a view to precisely identifying the specific difficulties and needs of women and men.

IV. Vocational training

In its 2005 survey on working conditions, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Working Conditions noted that part-time workers (the vast majority of whom are women) generally have limited access to vocational training.

Furthermore, it should be pointed out that in SMEs, which employ around 60% of the workforce in the manufacturing industry, access to continuous training is a significant problem given the lack of rotation possibilities owing to the small number of staff. It is therefore vital to guarantee forms of support to offset the added difficulties facing SMEs in order to foster the continued employment of women working under insecure conditions in SMEs.

V. Stereotypes

The persistence of stereotypes starts with the choice of education for girls and boys but is also reflected in the division of labour in industry and within undertakings.

It has been established that, despite the increase in the number of girls studying science and technology, the obstacles encountered at subsequent stages of their studies and in their first working environment lead young women to abandon scientific careers in industry. Current projects in the field of ICT therefore aim to redefine occupational posts in order to attract a larger number of girls to this labour market.

VI. Social partners

In its resolution of 25 September 2002 on representation of women among the social partners of the EU, Parliament highlighted the lack of women’s participation in decision-making bodies and invited the Commission and the social partners to play an active part in promoting gender equality in this field.

In a study on the role of women in trade unions, Homa Dean(1) sets out the main lines of positive action to boost women’s representation and above all to raise awareness of the gender dimension in the issues addressed during collective bargaining, including the need for such negotiations to cover the improvement of gender-differentiated statistics, internal training on gender mainstreaming, a gender impact assessment and a gender audit.

The adoption of a framework for action on gender equality by the European social partners (UNICE/UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC) represents a significant commitment to raise awareness of women’s situation on the labour market. The goal of balanced representation for men and women could have a significant impact on industrial sectors. Attention should also be drawn to the commitment given by the social partners to encourage girls to take up technical and/or scientific careers.

VII. Some proposals

It is in this context that a set of basic proposals is being put forward to protect employment with rights for women in industry, upgrade their participation, combat discrimination, fight for equal rights and career opportunities, wages, vocational and continuous training and respect for maternity and paternity as fundamental social values, and in particular:

-     insisting on urgent measures to combat wage discrimination, particularly by drawing up phased sectoral plans with precise targets, which will make it possible to put an end to direct and indirect wage discrimination;

-     insisting on greater awareness and monitoring of undertakings, paying particular attention to working conditions, working time, compliance with maternity and paternity rights and reconciling working life and family life, asking that no legislation detrimental to these rights should be approved;

-     preventing forced mobility and inferior working conditions for migrant women;

-     guaranteeing that measures taken in the field of reconciling professional, family and private life do not lead to the sedimentation of the roles of men and women contrary to the priorities of the Road Map for Gender Equality 2006 - 2010, in particular as regards women’s economic independence, and calling for universal cover in terms of crèches, nurseries, leisure facilities for children and support for elderly people;

-     defining parameters for health protection at work that take account of the gender dimension, at the level of both research and inspection and preventive measures;

-     developing the gender dimension in studies and national surveys/investigations on working and employment conditions;

-     strengthening support for vocational training for women in industrial SMEs, including support for research and innovation, in line with the 7th framework programme and the Santa Maria da Feira Charter on SMEs;

-     better planning for women’s training requirements with the aim of helping to improve their employment conditions, stressing the importance of operational training programmes for science and technology, guaranteeing the quality and diversification of training opportunities for women in the various Member States and disseminating existing good practice regarding women’s participation in industrial research and cutting-edge industries;

-     taking account of women’s specific situation in industry in all policies, particularly in the sectors affected by structural changes and measures in the field of world trade;

-     paying particular attention to the import of products from third countries, whereby the application of the memorandum of understanding between the European Union and the People’s Republic of China on the import of certain textiles products should be monitored, with a view to its possible extension beyond December 2007;

-     supporting the less-favoured regions, areas with permanent structural disadvantages, the outermost regions and areas affected by recent deindustrialisation or industrial restructuring in order to strengthen women’s social inclusion;

-     paying particular attention to relocations that have affected industries with a high concentration of female labour, such as textiles, garments, embroidery, footwear, cabling, ceramics, electrical and electronic equipment and various parts of the food sector;

-     supporting the textile sector as a productive branch and supporting Community programmes that encourage the creation of trade marks, the protection of designations of origin and the external promotion of Community products from industrial sectors where women predominate, in particular at professional and international trade fairs, thereby promoting women’s work and guaranteeing their employment;

- paying attention to the measures to be taken, particularly in the WTO, to take account of the context and specific characteristics of each sector, the opportunities and challenges facing them and the difficulties encountered by each Member State, specifically as regards women’s employment and women’s rights.

(1)

‘Les femmes dans les syndicats – méthodes et bonnes pratiques pour l´intégration de la dimension du genre’ – Homa Dean, Institut Fédéral Belge pour l´Egalité des Femmes et des Hommes.


OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY, RESEARCH AND ENERGY (27.11.2007)

for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

on the role of women in industry

(2007/2197(INI))

Draftsman: Den Dover

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.    Is of the opinion that the role of women in any industrial sector cannot be viewed in isolation from the state of industry in the European Union generally, the challenges that industry in the EU is facing or the need for successful answers;

2.    Recommends that there should be more flexibility in the workplace, thereby enabling men and women to have greater options for the development of both their family lives and their working careers; believes that temporary work should be much more readily available to men and women to match their changing needs;

3.    While expressing concern as to the stagnant domestic demand in a number of Member States, at the increasing imports from outside the EU and some further sectoral job losses in the EU, often affecting women, welcomes the fact that, according to the latest available statistics, exports to countries outside the EU in many sectors have maintained their proportion of total turnover, which is a sign of the competitiveness of the EU in those fields;

4.    Calls on the Member States to introduce better, more flexible and portable pensions for women in view of their longer life expectancy and their inability to commit to employers for long periods due to domestic and family duties throughout their working lives; and recalls its position at first reading position on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on improving the portability of supplementary pension rights(1);

5.    Calls for the widest possible distribution of the Strategic Research Agenda of the European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing and urges all stakeholders to move towards innovative technologies and business models which have a balanced participation of men and women at all levels;

6.    Calls, on the one hand, on the Commission and the Member States to draw up and implement policies aimed at reconciling work and private life for men and women, greater flexibility in working hours for men and women and widespread access to child and adult care services, in compliance with the Barcelona objectives, and, on the other hand, for effective technical and, where possible, financial support or incentives for SME employers to implement these policies and practices;

7.    Calls on the Commission to promote professional training policies and programmes, including the development of computer literacy skills, aimed at women in order to increase their participation in various sectors of industry, taking into account existing financial support available at local, national and Community levels and creating greater incentives to use these for large companies and SMEs alike;

8.    Points out that companies have a general duty to comply with the principle of equality at the workplace, regardless of their size or the sector in which they operate;

9.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary measures to guarantee the right to equal opportunities at work, including measures to ensure equality between men and women as regards access to employment, working conditions, training and career progression;

10.  Emphasises the fact that the role of women in industry should at all times be based on the principles of equality of salaries and career perspectives in order to promote their wider participation even in fields of industry not stereotypically assigned to women;

11.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take all necessary measures to ensure protection against sexual and gender-based harassment;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage companies to negotiate and implement an equality programme; notes that in some Member States large companies are obliged to negotiate an equality plan in the framework of a collective agreement;

13.  Encourages the Commission and Member States to promote a balanced representation of men and women on the management boards of companies, particularly of companies in which there is Member State participation.

(1)

Texts adopted, 20.6.2007, P6_TA(2007)0269.


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

22.11.2007

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

38

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Jan Březina, Jerzy Buzek, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Giles Chichester, Den Dover, Nicole Fontaine, Adam Gierek, Norbert Glante, Umberto Guidoni, András Gyürk, David Hammerstein, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, Ján Hudacký, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Werner Langen, Anne Laperrouze, Eluned Morgan, Angelika Niebler, Reino Paasilinna, Miloslav Ransdorf, Vladimír Remek, Paul Rübig, Andres Tarand, Britta Thomsen, Radu Ţîrle, Patrizia Toia, Catherine Trautmann, Claude Turmes, Nikolaos Vakalis, Alejo Vidal-Quadras

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Neena Gill, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Vladimir Urutchev

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2)
present for the final vote

Holger Krahmer, Umberto Pirilli, Carl Schlyter


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

17/12/2007

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

29

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Edit Bauer, Emine Bozkurt, Hiltrud Breyer, Edite Estrela, Věra Flasarová, Claire Gibault, Zita Gurmai, Esther Herranz García, Piia-Noora Kauppi, Pia Elda Locatelli, Doris Pack, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou, Zita Pleštinská, Christa Prets, Karin Resetarits, Eva-Britt Svensson, Anne Van Lancker, Anna Záborská

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Gabriela Creţu, Iratxe García Pérez, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Donata Gottardi, Anna Hedh, Kartika Tamara Liotard, Marusya Ivanova Lyubcheva, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Maria Petre

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2)
present for the final vote

Árpád Duka-Zólyomi, Manolis Mavrommatis, Paul Rübig

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