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March 8 : International Women’s Day : JEF calls for gender equality in Europe

Resolution on gender equality adopted by the Federal Committee of JEF Europe in October 2010

, by JEF-Europe

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, thenewfederalist.eu devotes a thematic week for women in Europe.

International Women's Day logo – Source : http://www.internationalwomensday.com

authors

The situation of women in the labour market of the EU prevails on a low level. The average income of women is 17,8% lower compared the average income of men. 50% of the university graduates are female but in the university top positions women are only represented with less than 25%. Whilst there is a high amount of women in minimum wage jobs, there is a low amount of women in the high salary positions. Therefore the economic crisis affects women much more so than men.

These discrepancies are traced down based on the different sex but it should be also seen in the perspective of gender stereotypes. Often jobs that involve care, education and empathy are referred to as “women’s jobs”, jobs that entail power, responsibility and qualification are male dominated. This also can explain the little representation in decision making processes and representative fora. Also the role of women in all European societies are associated with child care and raising the child, this is often used as a reasoning to argue lower salaries for women.

Gender affects family values, labour perspectives, sexuality and behaviour. The gender perception is strongly influenced by the media, portraying certain gender stereotypes. This also generates a strong power imbalance between the role of men and women in the household, some times resulting in domestic violence. This phenomenon affects women much more than men, only 3% of which are affected by domestic violence whilst almost 25% of the women are suffering from it.

Therefore JEF:

condemns all forms of discrimination and domestic violence;

welcomes the recently introduced Strategy for equality between Women and Men by the European Commission;

commits itself to work towards a more gender sensitive perception and to promote equality according to Human Rights legislation and to the “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women”;

will take action to promote gender equality in Europe;

calls upon the European Commission:

- to enforce possibilities for parental leave, optional for all genders to detach the role of the woman as parent who is only responsible to take care of the children;

- to equalize the marriage and adoption laws for all couples;

- to work towards an establishment of gender balance in high academic positions, such as heads of faculty and heads of universities;

- to ensure transparency of income and job description for all citizens, to discard pay differences based on gender roles;

- to equalize the retirement age for women and men amongst the member states;

- to establish an ombudsmen for Gender;

- to give strong repercussions against media programmes that promote sexism or homophobia;

calls upon the FEMM Committee:

- to take a more proactive approach and be more present and public with their work;

- to promote gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting in the European Parliament’s policy better;

calls upon the member states:

- to provide gender sensitivity training, which should be available for all teachers, workers in child care institutions and youth and social workers;

- to start additional options for child care institutions, such as free nursery placements, after school programmes and day schools, to enable both parents to work.

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