Empower women economically, say S&Ds to Commission

same work rights pay women gender equality - man on higher money stack than woman

Today the European Parliament approved a very strong progressive S&D report calling on the Commission and member states to strengthen the economic empowerment of women to enable them to participate equally in the labour market and in society. The cost of excluding a woman from the labour market is estimated at between €1.2 million and €2 million throughout her life, totalling €370 billion annually for the whole EU. Among the measures the European Parliament calls for in the progressive report voted today against conservative-liberal resistance are wage mapping and binding measures for pay transparency to fight the gender pay gap; gender equality plans for companies to be negotiated with social partners; quotas in the public sector; and a guarantee for returning from part-time to full-time work. 

S&D MEP Anna Hedh, author of the report on women’s economic empowerment, said:

“Millions of working women in Europe earn less than their male colleagues. Although they are equally or sometimes even better educated, their skills are often not valued as highly as men’s and their career progression is slower. This gender pay gap of 16 % results in an even bigger pension gap of 40%. We, the Socialists and Democrats, are fighting for equal pay for equal work of equal value. This is why the report highlights the need for a clear framework of specific job-evaluation tools with comparable indicators to assess the value in jobs and sectors. We also call on companies to negotiate gender equality plans with social partners to combat discrimination at the workplace.

"Too often women are the primary or sole carers for their children or elderly parents. Women do two and a half times more unpaid housework and care work than men. As a result they often curtail their careers, work part time or give up their jobs entirely, leaving them too often in precarious situations.  We want a fairer distribution of paid and unpaid work between men and women. This is why we call on the European Commission to put forward a strong proposal to improve work-life balance, including a guarantee to return from part-time to full-time jobs.” 

S&D Group spokesperson for women’s rights and gender equality, Iratxe García Pérez added:

“The economic independence of women is a key factor for achieving equality between women and men. We fight to eliminate the gender pay gap, achieve a real balance between work and family life, improve women's participation in the labour market and decision-making, and eradicate gender-based violence, including sexual harassment at the workplace. As long as discrimination between women and men exists in the labour market, we cannot call our society fair and equal.

“The exclusion of women from the labour market comes with high individual and societal costs. Due to the lower female employment rate, the EU loses €370 billion every year. Investing in women’s economic empowerment paves the way towards gender equality, poverty eradication and growth. Women’s economic empowerment is both right and smart.”