Η Συνομοσπονδία Ευρωπαϊκών Συνδικάτων για τη Διεθνή Ημέρα της Γυναίκας
ETUC CALLS FOR GENDER MAINSTREAMING IN HANDLING THE ECONOMIC CRISIS
Brussels, 6 March 2009
To mark the International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated annually on 8 March, ETUC draws attention to the importance of gender mainstreaming the various policies and actions that are currently developed to tackle the economic crisis. This year’s IWD takes place at a time of profound economic turmoil accompanied by a deepening social crisis. Now more than ever, the focus must be on issues of equity, equality and non-discrimination. As the recession spreads and deepens in the global economy, both women and men will suffer the labour market consequences, and gender inequality risks being exacerbated by the crisis. In times of an economic downturn, women often experience the negative consequences in different ways then men, related to their double role as workers and carers. As they are also more likely than men to be in low-paid, precarious employment they face a greater risk of immediate poverty when becoming unemployed. With recession spreading across Europe, the focus is understandably more on saving jobs, and less on issues such as a fairer distribution of pay across the sexes, flexible working time arrangements to reconcile work and family life and protection of maternity and paternity rights. The public face of the crisis is a man’s face with manufacturing plants closing down, men losing their jobs, and bankers losing their bonuses. So far, women are on the edge of the crisis. But the same hard-fought for employment rights that made it possible for women to combine work and family life – child care facilities, flexible working, more maternity rights and part-time work – are now the issues that may come under attack, and may make their position vulnerable. As expressed in its Charter on Gender Mainstreaming in Trade Unions, ETUC believes that gender mainstreaming is essential for social progress and sustainability, and this even more so in times of recession. For safeguarding social Europe, it is essential to promote a ‘fair recovery’, one that creates opportunities for all and does not exacerbate existing problems of inequalities between women and men, but enables them to meet their aspirations for participation in the labour market and material prosperity. Therefore, ETUC calls on governments and policymakers to: protect employment and offer education and training not only to workers in key industries, but also in the supplier chains and the services sectors where a majority of women are employed under often precarious conditions without any protection and hence risk clear-cut redundancies; refrain from deep cuts in public spending, thereby threatening on the one hand public sector jobs which are hold by a majority of women and would thus put their jobs at risk, but on the other hand also would endanger the level of public services necessary for women to combine labour market participation and care, such as child care facilities; strengthen and broaden social protection by ensuring access to social security, pensions, unemployment benefits, maternity protection and quality healthcare for all. To ensure that women’s voice is heard, and that the capacities of women are fully utilised when tackling the challenges of our times, it is of paramount importance to invest in more and better representation of women at all levels of political and socio-economic decision making. Further information: ETUC Charter on gender mainstreaming in trade unions Watch also: ITUC video ’Women at work’ The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) speaks with a single voice on behalf of the common interests of workers, at European level. Founded in 1973, it now represents 82 trade union organisations in 36 European countries, plus 12 industry-based federations.
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