"Conservatives refuse to face up to the critical problem of gender inequality," accuse S&D Euro MPs

Gender inequality - gender pay gap or violence against women

S&D Euro MPs today accused the conservatives of blocking the rights of women after they rejected the annual report on gender equality for 2012.

This year, the report highlighted a number of urgent problems and issues caused by gender inequality against the background of the economic and social crisis.

S&D MEP and PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

"Again the conservatives in this Parliament have taken an ideological stance against women. This is unacceptable. It is about time that the conservatives start to live in the 21 century. The crisis and its consequences call for more gender equality, not less.

"Deeply-rooted inequalities such as the gender pay gap or violence against women need to be addressed now. By rejecting this report, the conservatives are sending once again the wrong signal."

S&D Group negotiator Mojca Kleva Kekuš said after the vote:

"I regret that the right wing in the European Parliament rejected the in-depth report which addressed the core problems that women face on a daily basis. It is clear that the crisis and the ill-thought-out austerity measures have worsened the situation for women in the EU.

" In order for women to have equal opportunities, EU countries need to have policies in place to help families reconcile work and family life, and to give women the chance to enter or return to the labour market and get equal pay alongside men.

"The slow progress towards equal pay in Europe has long-term consequences too as the gender pay gap creates an even greater gender pension gap – on average women in the EU currently get 39% lower pensions.

"Furthermore, women's rights to decide about their own bodies should never be put up for discussion. All women should share the same rights when it comes to contraception, maternity or sexuality. It is important not only to improve what we have, but also to defend the rights that have already been achieved over the last few decades."

"We cannot achieve a fair, modern society with real gender equality unless we make these issues a priority."