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Procedure : 2015/2228(INI)
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Document selected : A8-0153/2016

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PV 25/05/2016 - 22
CRE 25/05/2016 - 22

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PV 26/05/2016 - 6.8
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Thursday, 26 May 2016 - Brussels
Poverty: a gender perspective

European Parliament resolution of 26 May 2016 on poverty: a gender perspective (2015/2228(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 8, 9, 151, 153 and 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular its provisions on social rights and on equality between men and women,

–  having regard to the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

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

–  having regard to the EU’s growth strategy Europe 2020 and in particular to its objective of reducing the number of Europeans living below national poverty lines by 25 % by 2020, thereby lifting over 20 million people out of poverty, and to the need to fully deploy Member States’ social security and pensions systems in order to ensure adequate income support,

–  having regard to the Commission’s 2013 Social Investment Package (SIP),

–  having regard to the European Social Fund Gender Mainstreaming Community of Practice (GenderCop), and in particular the GenderCop working group on poverty and inclusion,

–  having regard to Article 7 of the Common Provisions Regulation for the Structural Funds 2014-2020,

–  having regard to the 2014 Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion,

–  having regard to 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,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010 on implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC and repealing Directive 96/34/EC,

–  having regard to the Commission Roadmap of August 2015 on a new start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families,

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 3 December 2015 entitled ‘Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019’ (SWD(2015)0278),

–  having regard to the results of the EU lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender survey carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and published on 17 May 2013,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 13 October 2005 on women and poverty in the European Union(1) and of 3 February 2009 on non-discrimination based on sex and intergenerational solidarity(2),

–  having regard to its position adopted at first reading on 20 October 2010(3) with a view to the adoption of Directive 2011/.../EU of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Maternity Leave Directive,

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 March 2011 on the face of female poverty in the European Union(4),

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

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2011 on the situation of women approaching retirement age(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2011 on the situation of single mothers(7),

–  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(8),

–  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’(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2013 on the impact of the economic crisis on gender equality and women’s rights(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2015 on progress on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2013(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 October 2015 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(13),

–  having regard to the study published in April 2014 and commissioned by the Commission entitled ‘Single parents and employment in Europe’,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs on meeting the anti-poverty targets in light of increasing household costs, and the attached opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0040/2016),

–  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 and the opinions of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0153/2016),

A.  whereas the latest Eurostat data show that the number of women in poverty remains permanently higher than that of men, with currently some 64,6 million women as against 57,6 million men(14); whereas this shows that poverty has impacts differently on women and on men; whereas women were particularly affected by the risk of poverty in the EU-28 in 2014, with the rate standing at 46,6 % before social transfers and 17,7 % after such transfers; whereas poverty rates among women vary greatly between Member States; whereas regardless of how specific the groups at risk are, such as elderly women, single women, single mothers, lesbians, bisexual women, transgender women and women with disabilities, poverty rates among migrant women and women from ethnic minorities are the same throughout the EU; whereas 38,9 % of the population and 48,6 % of single women in the EU-28 are not in a position to cope with unexpected expenses; whereas the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that women form the majority of the world’s poorest people and that the number of women living in rural poverty has increased by 50 % since 1975, that women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours and produce half of the world’s food, yet they earn only 10 % of the world’s income and own less than 1 % of the world’s property;

B.  whereas gender equality in the labour market, achieved by increasing social and economic wellbeing, benefits not only women but the economy and society as a whole; whereas the objective of ensuring equality between men and women dates back to the 1957 Treaty of Rome;

C.  whereas governments have committed, in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to ensuring that all boys and girls complete a full primary education; whereas Parliament organised an event entitled ‘Empowering girls and women through education’ on International Women’s Day in May 2015; whereas education, both formal and informal, is instrumental in overcoming marginalisation and multiple forms of discrimination by creating dialogue, openness and understanding between communities, and by empowering marginalised communities;

D.  whereas in times of economic recession people who are already at risk of living in poverty – who are more likely to be women – are in a vulnerable position in labour markets and with regard to social security, especially members of groups facing multiple discrimination; whereas the EU LGBT Survey finds that lesbians and bisexual and transgender women face a disproportionate risk of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, in employment (19 %), education (19 %), housing (13 %), healthcare (10 %) and access to social services (8 %); whereas this results in disproportionate risks to their economic and social wellbeing;

E.  whereas the austerity policies requested by the Commission and implemented by the Members States, in addition to the economic crisis of the past few years, have widened inequalities and affected women in particular, exacerbating poverty among women and increasingly excluding them from the labour market; whereas the network of public services and infrastructure providing care for children, the elderly and the sick, and the supply of high-quality, free public services of this kind have been reduced;

F.  whereas single-parent families are at greater risk of poverty or social exclusion (49,8 % compared with 25,2 % of average households with dependent children, although there are large differences between Member States)(15); whereas according to Eurostat women accounted for 56,6 % of single-parent households in the Union in 2014; whereas poverty has a strong impact on the personal development and education of children and the effects can last an entire lifetime; whereas the educational gap between children from different socio-economic backgrounds has increased (in 11 countries, the provision of early childhood education and care to children between the ages of 0 and 3 reaches no more than 15 % coverage); whereas there is a strong probability of transmission of poverty over several generations; whereas the lack of quality education is a factor that significantly increases the risks of child poverty and the social exclusion of children, and a variety of factors related to family life – such as lack of stability, violence or poor housing conditions – significantly exacerbate the risk of dropping out of school;

G.  whereas women who live in rural areas are particularly affected by poverty; whereas many women who live in rural areas are not even registered on the labour market or as unemployed; whereas the rate of unemployment among women in rural areas is extremely high, and those who are employed have very low incomes; whereas women in rural areas have limited access to education, early detection of cancer and healthcare in general;

H.  whereas living at risk of poverty results in social exclusion and lack of involvement in the life of society in terms of access to education, justice, lifelong learning, primary healthcare services, decent housing and nutrition, water and energy, access to and participation in culture and information, sport and public transport; whereas investing in policies to support women also improves their families’ living conditions, in particular those of their children;

I.  whereas the gender pay gap stands at 16,3 %, and whereas the atypical and uncertain forms of work contracts also affect women more than men;

J.  whereas, very often, women who intend to set up a business have difficulty in gaining access to credit because traditional financial intermediaries are reluctant to grant loans, as they consider women entrepreneurs to be more exposed to risk and less inclined to make their businesses grow and to make profitable investments;

K.  whereas women are often employed as domestic workers, in many cases outside the scope of national labour law; whereas undocumented women in particular run the risk of being forced to work and being exploited in this area;

L.  whereas women more often than men take the responsibility for the care of elderly, ill or dependent family members as well as for children, and put their careers on hold more regularly, resulting in lower participation and long periods of inactivity in the labour market; whereas the risk of impoverishment is reduced by the establishment of high-quality social services and facilities at affordable prices for early childhood education and care, or care for other dependent persons such as the elderly; whereas few Member States have achieved or surpassed the Barcelona objectives, which must be seen as essential for moving towards the equal sharing of caring responsibilities;

M.  whereas given the intergenerational dimensions of poverty, addressing the situation of girls and young women who are facing social exclusion and poverty is key to tackling the feminisation of poverty;

N.  whereas for the whole EU-27, 34 % of single mothers of active age are at risk of poverty, as opposed to 17 % in the case of other families of active age with children;

O.  whereas the pension entitlements gap averages 39 % as a result of the imbalances created by persistent inequalities in terms of wages and access to employment, discrimination, and the pay gap between men and women in the labour market; whereas this pension gap represents an obstacle to women’s economic independence and is one of the reasons why women find themselves falling below the poverty line as they grow older; whereas action is needed to secure equal access to decent pension schemes for women; whereas the pension gap decreased over the period 2006 -2012 in those Member States which implemented Directive 2006/54/EC(16);

P.  whereas the increasing risk of poverty is closely linked to budget cuts affecting education, social security systems and care services; whereas women and children have been hardest hit by the crisis and the austerity measures taken in several European countries;

Q.  whereas women are a key force for economic and social development, and a good education is one of the most effective strategies available for success in the job market and breaking out of the poverty cycle; whereas the considerable financial burden of non-free education, given the direct and indirect costs involved, is a significant barrier to people living in poverty becoming better qualified; whereas girls outperform boys in school but often encounter greater difficulties or are prevented from translating this educational success into professional accomplishment by familial and other pressures;

R.  whereas the stereotypes widely conveyed by society are rooted in patriarchy and leave women in a subordinate role in society, contributing to the feminisation of poverty; whereas these stereotypes are developed during childhood and are reflected in educational and training choices and on into the labour market; whereas women are still too often confined to ‘women-friendly’ tasks for which they are still not properly paid and remain under-represented in areas such as mathematics, science, business, ICT and engineering, as well as in positions of responsibility; whereas these stereotypes in combination with the male dominated sectors being normative in setting wages lead to gender-based discrimination;

S.  whereas the Europe 2020 strategy, which seeks to make the EU a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy, entails ambitious targets, such as a 75 % employment rate and a reduction of at least 20 million in the number of people affected by or at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 2020; whereas the strategy’s targets include a reduction in early school leaving rates to below 10 %;

T.  whereas one of the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy is to ensure that 40 % of 30- to 34-year-olds receive a university education, compared with the current average of 37,9 %; whereas the average figure for women has exceeded 42,3 %, compared with 33,6 % for men;

U.  whereas meeting the Europe 2020 anti-poverty target, as one of the strategy’s five measurable targets, requires significant new political impetus; whereas these targets cannot be met unless anti-poverty policy includes a strong gender dimension, with the adoption of national policies to protect women, in particular, from the risk of poverty;

V.  whereas poverty and social exclusion and women’s economic dependency can be exacerbating factors for victims of violence against women, as well as vice versa since violence has consequences for women’s health and frequently leads to losing jobs, homelessness, social exclusion and poverty; whereas this includes disproportionate vulnerability to trafficking and sexual exploitation; whereas, furthermore, many women suffering this form of violence continue to live with their abusers because they are economically dependent;

W.  whereas gender equality provides a tool for combating poverty among women, as it has a positive impact on productivity and economic growth and leads to greater participation of women in the labour market, which in turn has numerous social and economic benefits;

Poverty and work-life balance

1.  Underlines the crucial role of high-quality public services in combating poverty, especially female poverty, since women are more dependent on such services;

2.  Stresses the need for the encouragement and commitment of men in terms of promoting gender equality in all fields and at all levels of the labour market;

3.  Considers that Member States should prioritise the issue of reconciling private and professional life by introducing family-friendly working arrangements, such as adaptable working hours and the possibility of teleworking; notes that the lack of affordable high-quality childcare, care for dependent persons and the elderly, and in particular of crèches, nursery schools and long-term care facilities, contributes to social exclusion, the gender employment gap, the pay gap and the related pension gap; emphasises that equal access to free high-quality early childhood education and affordable care, to formal, informal, and non-formal education and to family support services is central to encouraging women to enter and stay on the labour market, securing equal opportunities and breaking poverty cycles, as this helps women acquire autonomy and the qualifications that serve to secure employment;

4.  Deplores the austerity policies which, together with the economic crisis, are helping to increase the rate of poverty, particularly among women;

5.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to develop and use the available policy and financial instruments, including the Social Investment Package, in order to meet the Barcelona objectives; calls, in this context, for the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to be optimised, for priority to be given, in the use of social investments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) regulation, to the establishment of public and private facilities for care of and assistance to children and other dependent persons; proposes that the Commission allocate specific resources, through a cofinancing mechanism, to promote incentives for specific areas where there is a shortage of ECEC facilities and where the female employment rate is extremely low;

6.  Calls on Member States to implement policies that will protect, upgrade and promote free, high-quality public services, above all in the areas of health, education, social security and justice; points out that it is crucial for public services to have the necessary financial and human resources to fulfil their objectives;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary measures to promote the reconciliation of work and private life, in order to enable women, particularly those most at risk of poverty, to pursue their careers on a full-time basis or, if they prefer, to have access to part-time work or work with flexible hours;

8.  Calls on the Commission, in close coordination with the Member States, to undertake a comprehensive legislative initiative with a view to meeting the needs of mothers and fathers concerning the different types of leave, namely maternity, paternity, parental and carers’ leave, in particular in order to help men play an active role as fathers, enabling a fairer distribution of family responsibilities and thus allowing women equal opportunities to participate in the labour market, which will in turn make them economically more independent; bears in mind that some Member States have already passed legislation on this issue that goes beyond the provisions of EU law; calls on the Member States to envisage legislation to safeguard or enhance maternity, paternity and parental rights; underlines the fact that in 2010 only 2,7 % of persons using their right of parental leave were men, which points up the need for concrete action to ensure parental leave rights;

9.  Reiterates its disappointment at the withdrawal of the maternity leave directive after years of effort aimed at unblocking the deadlock and thus ensuring better protection for European citizens; calls on the Commission to put forward a new proposal and a mandatory right to paid paternity leave; believes that specific measures need to be taken in all Member States to improve work-life balance for women; urges the Commission to incorporate both a more robust social dimension and workplace gender equality objectives into the European Semester;

10.  Welcomes the proposal to introduce carers’ leave, as foreseen in the Commission Roadmap on a new start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families;

Poverty and work

11.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to implement policies to promote the employment of women and the integration into the labour market of socially marginalised groups of women, in the light of the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, to strengthen and improve education, and to invest more in training and information campaigns, ensuring that qualification prevails in the subsequent integration of women into the labour market, with an emphasis on lifelong learning since it provides women with the necessary skills to access high-quality jobs, and gives women the opportunity to re-skill in the ever-changing labour market; calls for an increase in the promotion of STEM subjects aimed at young girls in order to address existing educational stereotypes early and combat long-term gaps in employment and pay; calls for the development of affordable and high-quality public care services, adaptable but not precarious working-time arrangements that benefit both women and men, and measures to combat the segregation of men and women by occupation and sector, including in the world of enterprise and in positions of responsibility;

12.  Emphasises that access to credit, financial services and advice is key to empowering women facing social exclusion in entrepreneurship, and to increasing their representation in the sector; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take effective measures to increase access to funding for women who want to start their own business or investment projects, and to promote female entrepreneurship since it contributes to general economic and social development, to facilitate access to credit, also through microcredit instruments, particularly with regard to vulnerable women facing multiple discrimination, and to develop and expand self-employment programmes in a non-precarious way; underlines the importance in this context of sharing and promoting best practices, mentorship, female role models and other forms of support for unemployed women;

13.  Stresses the crucial importance of: reforming macroeconomic, social and labour market policies by aligning these with gender equality policies in order to guarantee economic and social justice for women; reconsidering the methods used to determine the poverty rate and developing strategies to promote the fair distribution of wealth;

14.  Notes that women are more often employed in precarious and low-paid work and on non-standard employment contracts; notes that another facet of job precariousness is the extent of involuntary part-time work, which contributes to the risk of poverty and has increased from 16,7 % to 19,6 % of total employment; calls on the Member States to step up their efforts to combat undeclared work, precarious jobs and the abuse of atypical forms of contract, including zero-hour contracts in some Member States; highlights the high levels of undeclared work performed by women, which negatively impact on women’s income and social security coverage and protection and have an adverse effect on EU GDP; urges the Member States to consider implementing the International Labour Organisation (ILO) recommendations intended to reduce the scale of precarious work(17), such as analysing and restricting the circumstances in which precarious contracts can be used and limiting the length of time that workers can be employed on successive contracts of this kind, after which they should be given the option of a permanent contract;

15.  Calls on the Member States to monitor the rights of female workers, who increasingly work in low-paid jobs and are victims of discrimination;

16.  Points out that there are new categories of women in poverty, consisting of young professional women, and which therefore condemn a large proportion of young female graduates to a precarious working life and an income that rarely manages to rise above the poverty line (the ‘new poor’);

17.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to revise the existing legislation in order to close the gender pay gap and reduce the pension gap between men and women; notes that measures to increase wage transparency are fundamental to closing the gender pay gap, and calls on the Member States to implement the Commission’s recommendation of 7 March 2014 on strengthening the principle of equal pay between men and women through transparency, including reversal of the burden of proof when it comes to challenging gender discrimination in the workplace;

18.  Calls on the Commission to conduct a study of how procedures related to the official recognition of the gender reassignment of a person, or the absence of such procedures, affect transgender people’s position on the labour market, particularly their access to employment, level of remuneration, career development and pensions;

19.  Notes with concern that women often receive pensions that are worth barely more than the minimum subsistence level, there being various reasons for this such as their having taken a break in or stopped their working life to care for their family, the predominance of part-time contracts throughout their working life, or because they worked unpaid for their spouse, especially in commerce or in farming, and did not contribute to a social security scheme;

20.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission considers ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ to be one of the key areas for action in its new strategy for gender equality; calls on the Commission to adopt a Communication for a ‘New Strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Rights post 2015’, so that the objectives and policies included can be effectively implemented;

21.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that all persons who have temporarily interrupted their careers to bring up children or care for elderly persons can be reintegrated into the labour market and return to their former position and level of career advancement;

22.  Invites the Commission to carry out an impact assessment of minimum income schemes in the EU, and to consider further steps that would take into account the economic and social circumstances of each Member State as well as an assessment of whether those schemes enable households to meet basic personal needs; once again urges the Member States to introduce a minimum national pension which cannot be lower than the risk-of-poverty threshold;

23.  Notes that retired women are the most vulnerable group and often live in or are at risk of poverty; calls on the Member States to treat the issue of reducing the gender pension gap as an economic objective; calls on the Member States to reform pension systems with the aim of always ensuring adequate pensions for all with a view to closing the pension gap; considers that instruments to tackle the pension gap include the adjustment of pension systems to ensure equality between women and men, and adjustments to education, career planning, parental leave systems and other parenthood support services; calls on the Member States to consider providing shared pension rights in cases of divorce and legal separation, in line with the principle of subsidiarity; notes that occupational old-age pension schemes are increasingly run in accordance with insurance principles and that this might give rise to many gaps in terms of social protection(18); emphasises that the Court of Justice of the European Union has made it clear that occupational pension schemes are to be regarded as pay and that the principle of equal treatment therefore applies to these schemes as well;

Poverty: general recommendations

24.  Notes that people living in poverty often pay a higher unit cost compared to the better-off for the same goods and services that are essential to their social and economic survival, particularly with regard to telecommunications, energy, and water; calls on the Member States to work closely with suppliers and operators on the development of support schemes and social pricing for the most deprived in society, particularly in regard to water and power supplies, so as to eradicate energy poverty in households;

25.  Reiterates the role of education in combating gender stereotypes, empowering women and girls in the social, economic, cultural and political fields and in scientific careers, and in ending the cycle of poverty through women’s inclusion in sectors where they have been under-represented, such as science, technology, engineering, and entrepreneurship, and calls on the Commission to incorporate vocational training targets for women in the country-specific recommendations; emphasises the role of non-formal education; calls on Member States to include investment in the education of girls and women aimed at enhancing their potential as an integral part of their economies and recovery plans; encourages Member States to work to aid young women in the transition from formal education to the labour market; stresses the need for all educational institutions to impart democratic values with a view to encouraging tolerance, active citizenship, social responsibility and respect for differences related to gender, minorities, and ethnic and religious groups; points out the importance of sport and physical education in terms of overcoming prejudices and stereotypes and their potential value in helping socially vulnerable young people put their lives back on track;

26.  Expresses its concern that women with children are discriminated against in the workplace because they are mothers and not because their job performance is inferior to that of their peers; urges the Member States to actively promote a positive image of mothers as employees and to combat the phenomenon of the ‘motherhood penalty’ as identified by a number of research studies;

27.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the structural and investment funds, in particular the ESF, as well as the EFSI, are used to improve education and training with a view to improving labour market access and combating unemployment, poverty and social exclusion of women; highlights that the 20 % share of the ESF allocated to social inclusion measures and social innovation projects could be used more actively to support initiatives such as small-scale local projects aimed at empowering women experiencing poverty and social exclusion; urges the Member States to undertake more information campaigns on opportunities for participation in EU-funded projects;

28.  Calls for funding mechanisms which incentivise the achievement of equal representation in areas where there is a gender imbalance, and stresses the need for gender-disaggregated data in order to better understand the situation for girls, boys, men, and women, and therefore be able to provide more effective responses to imbalances; asks the Commission to provide a breakdown by gender and age regarding participation in European educational mobility programmes, such as Erasmus+, Creative Europe and Europe for Citizens;

29.  Recalls, in particular, the right of migrant and refugee children, both boys and girls, to have access to education, this being one of the priorities of European societies; stresses, therefore, that urgent measures in the field of migrant education should be taken both at EU and national levels in light of the persisting migrant crisis; emphasises that education is key to integration and employability, and that a failure of national education systems to meet this challenge may provoke further cultural segregation and deepen social divisions; points out that access to education, in both refugee camps and host municipalities, meeting the requisite quality standards and accompanied by linguistic and psychological support, must not be undermined by bureaucratic and administrative issues relating to recognition of refugee status;

30.  Stresses the contribution of voluntary organisations and the tertiary sector in this area, and urges the Member States to support their efforts; recalls the high level of participation by women in voluntary education and other activities, and in supporting and improving educational opportunities, for example for refugees and deprived children;

31.  Stresses that the effects of poverty and social exclusion on children can last a lifetime and result in the intergenerational transmission of poverty; stresses that in all Member States the risk of poverty and social exclusion among children is strongly linked to the level of education of their parents, in particular that of their mothers, and to their parents’ situation in the labour market, their social situation and the forms of family support provided by the Member States; recommends that Member States ensure that all young people have access to high-quality free public education at all ages, including early childhood; stresses the role of educational guidance for children aimed at allowing them to realise their full potential; stresses the need to support, with targeted programmes, the ongoing education of teenage mothers for whom leaving school early is a first step towards poverty; stresses the need to establish a comprehensive set of measures for tackling child poverty and promoting child wellbeing, to be based on three pillars: namely, access to adequate resources and reconciling work and family life; access to good quality services; and children’s participation in decisions that affect them as well as in cultural, leisure and sporting activities; reiterates the need to ensure ease of access to information on an equal basis, especially with regard to social security, adult education, healthcare and available economic support;

32.  Highlights that the lack of recognition of LGBTI families by many Member States results in lower incomes and higher living costs for LGBTI people, thus increasing the risk of poverty and social exclusion; believes that equal treatment legislation is a vital instrument to combat poverty resulting from marginalisation and discrimination affecting sexual and gender minorities; calls on the Council, in this regard, to adopt the 2008 proposal for a directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation; calls, furthermore, for the explicit inclusion in any future recast of the Gender Equality Directives of a ban on discrimination on grounds of gender identity; remains concerned that rights awareness and awareness of the existence of bodies and organisations offering support to victims of discrimination are low; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to closely monitor the effectiveness of national complaints bodies and procedures;

33.  Calls for full implementation of 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, and for it to be revised with a requirement for companies to draw up measures or plans relating to gender equality, including actions on desegregation, development of pay systems, and measures to support women’s careers;

34.  Reaffirms the importance of economic and financial education at a young age, since this has been shown to improve economic decision-making later in life, including in managing expenditure and income; recommends the exchange of best practice and the promotion of educational programmes targeting women and girls in vulnerable groups and marginalised communities facing poverty and social exclusion;

35.  Notes that the absence of a partner’s income may be a major contributing factor to the poverty trap and to the social exclusion of women; notes the often precarious situation of widows and of divorced women and single mothers to whom judges have granted custody of children, for whom an adequate level of maintenance needs to be defined; notes that non-payment of maintenance can plunge single mothers into poverty; underlines the fact that divorced women are prone to discrimination and poverty, and that this is evidence of women not yet being fully economically independent, thus pointing to the need for further actions in the field of the labour market and the closing of the gender pay gap;

36.  Stresses that the collection of data on household expenses and income must be complemented by individualised data in order to account for gender-based inequalities within households;

37.  Insists that macroeconomic policy must be compatible with social equality policy; reiterates that financial institutions such as the ECB and national central banks must take into account social impacts, when modelling and deciding on macroeconomic monetary policies or financial services policies;

38.  Reiterates its support for the initiative to formulate a guideline reference budget, and calls on the Commission to include gender-specific considerations when designing it, including the gender inequalities faced within households;

39.  Reasserts the need to undertake research into female homelessness and its causes and drivers, as the phenomenon is inadequately captured in current data; notes that gender-specific elements that ought to be taken into account include gender-based economic dependency, temporary housing, and avoidance of social services;

40.  Emphasises that violence against women continues to be a significant problem in the EU affecting its victims, and that there is an urgent need to involve the perpetrators thereof in measures to combat violence against women irrespective of their age, education, income level or social position, and that its impact on the risks of marginalisation, poverty and social exclusion is constantly growing; notes that women’s economic independence plays a crucial role in their ability to escape situations of gender-based violence by taking proactive measures; calls on the Member States and regional and local authorities to ensure social protection systems guaranteeing the social rights of women who are victims of violence in any form, be it domestic violence, trafficking, or prostitution, and to take action to reintegrate them into the labour market, also making use of instruments such as the ESF; underlines the need for an increase in availability of information when it comes to legal services for victims of violence;

41.  Stresses the need for determined efforts to combat domestic violence, particularly against women; notes that women’s economic independence plays a crucial role in their lives and their ability to extricate themselves from situations of domestic violence, and that women who have exhausted their paid leave are at risk of losing their jobs and economic independence; notes that the recent introduction of domestic violence leave in Australia and the US has provided many workers with employment protection when dealing with the impact of domestic violence, for example by allowing the people concerned the time to manage medical appointments, court appearances and other processes that must be addressed in such situations; calls on the Commission and the Member States to examine the feasibility and possible outcomes of introducing a system of paid special leave for victims and survivors of domestic violence where lack of paid leave is an obstacle to victims being able to maintain their employment while ensuring their privacy; also calls on the Commission and the Member States to introduce further measures to raise awareness of the problem of domestic violence and to help the victims of such violence, to promote better knowledge and defence of their rights, and to protect their economic independence;

42.  Reiterates its call for the EU and all Member States to sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention, and asks for an urgent initiative in order to establish an EU directive on combating violence against women; calls once more on the Commission to present a European strategy against gender-based violence, and to establish a European Year for combating gender-based violence;

43.  Believes there is a need to work proactively to overcome violence against women by targeting norms which glorify violence; underlines that stereotypes and structures which are the foundation for men’s violence against women must be combated by proactive measures through campaigns and ongoing education on the issue of macho cultures at national level;

44.  Points out that new technologies should be regarded as a fundamental tool for creating new jobs and as an opportunity to bring women out of poverty;

45.  Encourages the Member States, in cooperation with regional and local authorities, to help improve the quality of life of women in rural areas in order to reduce the risk of poverty while providing quality educational programmes aimed at empowering rural women, as well as quality employment conditions and decent incomes for this group; encourages the Member States to provide quality municipal, social and public infrastructure in order to improve general living conditions in rural areas;

46.  Believes that many aspects of poverty, and especially female poverty, remain unrecognised, including for example the exclusion of women from access to culture and social participation, and therefore calls on the Member States to provide the support necessary to ensure that all women can enjoy culture, sport, and leisure, paying particular attention to women living in poverty, women with a disability, and migrant women; considers that the existing indicators of severe material deprivation exclude the factors of access to culture and social participation, and therefore provide only an incomplete understanding of poverty; calls for more indicators to be developed for assessing exclusion in terms of social, cultural, and political participation, and particularly its influence on the vicious cycle of poverty, as well as its intergenerational impacts;

47.  Notes that disabled women often suffer discrimination within the family environment and in education, that their employment opportunities are restricted and that the social benefits they receive are not sufficient to stop them falling into poverty; stresses in this respect that Member States and regional and local authorities should grant disabled women the specialist care they need in order to exercise their rights, and should propose actions to aid their integration into the labour market through additional support measures, in particular as regards education and training;

48.  Calls for more ambitious action to tackle energy poverty, which disproportionately affects single women and single-parent and female-headed households; urges the Commission and the Member States to establish a definition of energy poverty which takes into account gendered aspects of the phenomenon, and to include this in the future recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive; highlights the important role of community energy initiatives such as cooperatives in empowering vulnerable energy consumers, and particularly women who are facing poverty and social exclusion and marginalisation;

49.  Reasserts its call on the Commission to strive towards establishing a European Child Guarantee that will ensure that every European child at risk of poverty has access to free healthcare, free education, free childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition; emphasises that such a policy must address the situation of women and girls, particularly in vulnerable and marginalised communities; notes that the Youth Guarantee Initiative must include a gender perspective;

50.  Encourages the Member States and the Commission to collect gender-disaggregated statistics and to introduce new individual indicators in respect of women and poverty, as a tool to monitor the impact of broader social, economic and employment policies on women and poverty in order to develop exchanges of best practice on legislative and budgetary instruments for combating poverty, with a focus on those groups at particular risk of poverty, and regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity;

51.  Highlights the role of social enterprises in empowering and including women facing poverty and social exclusion and multiple discrimination;

52.  Asks the Commission and the Member States to create stakeholder engagement processes that promote and facilitate the direct engagement of persons at risk of poverty and social inclusion, particularly women and girls, in policy-making on social inclusion at all levels;

53.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to implement gender budgeting as a tool for ensuring that budgetary decisions take into account the gender dimension and address differentiated impacts;

54.  Calls on the Member States to cooperate in the fight against poverty with NGOs which operate successfully in areas afflicted by extreme poverty and which have precious know-how in local communities; calls on the Member States to support effective cooperation at local level;

55.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to involve social partners (trade unions and employers) and civil society, including gender equality bodies, in the realisation of gender equality, with a view to fostering equal treatment; stresses that social dialogue must include the monitoring and promotion of gender equality practices in the workplace, including flexible working arrangements, with the aim of facilitating the reconciliation of work and private life; stresses the importance of collective agreements in combating discrimination and promoting equality between women and men at work, as well as of other instruments such as codes of conduct, research, exchanges of experience and good practice in the area of gender equality;

o   o

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

(1) OJ C 233 E, 28.9.2006, p. 130.
(2) OJ C 67 E, 18.3.2010, p. 31.
(3) OJ C 70 E, 8.3.2012, p. 162.
(4) OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 77.
(5) OJ C 296 E, 2.10.2012, p. 26.
(6) OJ C 51 E, 22.2.2013, p. 9.
(7) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 60.
(8) OJ C 264 E, 13.9.2013, p. 75.
(9) OJ C 24, 22.1.2016, p. 8.
(10) OJ C 36, 29.1.2016, p. 6.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0050.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0218.
(13) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0351.
(15) Save the Children, ‘Child Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe’, Brussels, 2014, p. 14.
(16) http:\\, p. 11.
(17) International Labour Organisation, Policies and regulations to combat precarious employment, 2011.

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