News about EU, trade, development and gender justice, Newsletter May 2015, issue 2

European Parliament FEMM Committee adopts its recommendations for the EU Strategy for equality between women and men

The FEMM committee of the EP adopted by 20 votes in favour, 12 votes against and 3 abstentions the own-initiative report on “the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015” (rapporteur Maria Noichl, S&D) and on the 450 amendments tabled. The report is meant to serve as an input from the European Parliament to the European Commission on the future Strategy.

It calls for a new strong strategy for gender equality that includes civil society and social partners, allows for gathering gender-specific data and results in a practical action plan. The EU should push for gender equality in all international policy agenda’s and FEMM “calls on the Commission to introduce a specific pillar for equality between women and men in the Europe 2020 strategy, to consider the objectives of the future strategy as an aspect of the European Semester and to insert a gender perspective in the country-specific recommendations and the Annual Growth Survey”.

EWL wants a concrete and ambitious EU new Strategy for Equality between women and men

Ahead of the EC Forum on the Future of Gender Equality, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) calls on the European Commission and the EU Member States to deliver a concrete and ambitious EU new Strategy for Equality between women and men. You can download the Briefing here.

In 2015, the EU will adopt a new Strategy for action on equality between women and men for the coming 5 years. EWL calls on the European Commission and the EU Member States to adopt such strategy as a stand-alone goal for the EU, with dedicated resources and goals, and concrete indicators for monitoring progress.

The Strategy should provide a strong architecture for women’s human rights and mechanisms for the systematic implementation of gender mainstreaming (mechanisms to ensure accountability, monitoring, evaluation, and coordination).

CONCORD Gender Working Group’s preliminary recommendations for the new EU Gender Action Plan 2016 – 2020

In the run up to the preparation of the new GAP 2016-2020 the CONCORD Gender Working Group is actively following the process and recently published “Preliminary Recommendations for the new EU Gender Action Plan 2016 – 2020”.

EIGE research: Gender gap in pensions in the EU

European Institute for Gender Equality published recently a research note to the Latvian Presidency. The report concludes that the gender gap in pensions throughout the European Union (EU) is considerable. In 2012, the gender gap in pensions amounted to 38 % in the EU on average. Notwithstanding the fact that the difference between pensions varies from country to country — from 5 % in Estonia to 45 % in Germany — the tendency for men to receive higher pensions than women is observed in all Member States.

Specifically in the light of the current economic crisis — which revealed issues with the sustainability and reliability of the EU Member States‘ pension systems and the role of social protection systems and their ability to decrease poverty and social exclusion in time of an economic downturn — addressing the gender gap in pensions is highly relevant.

MEP Greens organizing events around Social and Solidarity Economy

The European Parliament’s confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) held in the past month a meeting on Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). Currently, SSE is a reality as a pillar of the European economy, since it integrates 10% of the two million European companies (over 200,000 cooperatives) and employs 11 million people. However, so far these experiences are being developed with little attention from European public institutions, impeding progress toward legal, political and financial frameworks that permit and encourage the advancement of the sector.

Delegations of the European United Left (GUE/NGL) and the Greens (GREENS/EFA) held a first event held on February 26 with a panel of experts from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Portugal and Belgium. A second event is planned.

CONCORD Brief: who benefits from the EPA between the EU and West Africa?

In this thematic policy paper CONCORD calls on Members of the European Parliament not to ratify an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with West Africa because of the negative development impacts it could have. However, no word is dedicated to a gendered analysis of the EPA

Eurobarometer Report on Gender Equality

The European Commission published a special Eurobarometer report on Gender Equality last month. It provides a wealth of information about European citizens’ views on equality between women in the EU.

According to the new statistics, a large majority of citizens (76%) believe that tackling inequality between women and men should be a priority for the EU. Additionally, around nine in ten Europeans (91%) agree that tackling inequality between men and women is necessary to establish a fairer society. A similar proportion (89%) agree that equality between men and women will help women become more economically independent.

European Report on Development 2015: Trade before gender justice

The European Report on Development that was recently published, calls upon the EU to switch its focus from merely providing funding to devising and supporting policies that have a long-term, transformative impact. The EU and some member states fund the report, but it does not represent the opinion of the EU.

While the report suggests a “complete new approach”, the report does not propose radical alternatives. It promotes opening of markets for trade, restructuring of finance instruments, pushing for green technologies, etc. while gender issues are seldom part of its focus. Only one point in relation to women’s empowerment is made: women’s access to finance can support their empowerment and economic and social development.

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