The European Commission published its newest report on equality between women and men, which while addressing very important issues of equality on the labour market does not deal with other very key issues such as ensuring a gender perspective in economic policy, trade or development cooperation policy for example. The report says that the gender pay gap has remained almost unchanged whereas gender employment and education gaps are closing in the EU. The report also highlights that reconciling work and family life remains a problem for many women: E.g. Women with children have lower employment rates than those without; the majority of domestic work in the home is still carried out by women; a lack of affordable childcare remains an obstacle to equality; women’s lower participation in the labour market means that their pension entitlements are significantly lower than men’s.
European Parliament Women’s Rights Resolution:
On 10 March 2005 the EP adopted a Resolution by 434 votes in favour, 52 against with 53 abstentions on the follow up to the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing + 10). The main points of the Resolution are that although certain legal improvements have been made, women’s living situation hasn’t changed much, particularly when it comes to violations of their human right (e.g. honour killings and domestic violence).
The resolution highlights the lack of a clear political commitment to address and eradicate domestic violence against women, sexual tourism and trafficking in women, including legislative measures, such as asylum rights for victims. The Resolution calls on the Commission to declare 2006 the European Year against Violence towards Women and for measures in the area of decision-making. Moreover, the resolution welcomes the directive on gender equality in the access to and supply of goods and services, but regrets that not enough progress has been made towards completely eliminating the use of gender as a discriminating factor for determining premiums and benefits in relation to insurance and financial activities. Finally, the resolution strongly condemns the brutal behaviour of the Turkish police forces towards demonstrating women in Istanbul on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2005 and asks the European Commission to submit a report to the European Parliament on what has happened.