Articles in English

Statement by Ms Leila Kurki, President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship, on the occasion of International Women's Day

Dear friends and colleagues,

Increasing female employment rates and retaining older workers in their jobs are two of the key targets of the European Employment Strategy aimed at maintaining the competitiveness and productivity growth of Europe and combating the effect of an ageing population. In many EU countries women are still a long way away from the 60 percent employment target set for 2010 by the Lisbon Strategy.

Leila Kurki (Group II - Finland), President of the SOC Section (Source:
Leila Kurki (Group II - Finland), President of the SOC Section (Source:
There are still gender gaps in employment. Women are more likely to work part-time, in part because women are more likely than men to take on the dual role of both paid work and unpaid domestic responsibilities. Women in employment still earn less than their male colleagues (17% in average), with this gender pay gap prevailing for both older and younger women workers. Women are still retiring earlier than their male colleagues. Lower salaries and earlier retiring mean also low pension income and poverty.

The current global economic crisis threatens especially the jobs, incomes and working conditions of women. It expands the feminisation of poverty and erodes their social integration, social protection and general wellbeing and security.

Crises affect women and men differently. The gendered division of labour in the economy and within households makes it difficult for more women than men to manage economic resources and mitigate the effects of hard times. The higher incidence of poverty among women, their secondary status within the labour force, their predominance in the informal economy, their restricted access to productive assets and their extensive family and domestic responsibilities clearly make them more economically vulnerable than their male counterparts. Women are more likely to lose their jobs first. There is a particularly serious poverty risk for single-parent households, the vast majority of which are headed by single mothers.

The EESC Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship will continue to campaign for gender equality, especially in times of crisis. We must take a more gender-equal perspective on labour market policies. We must use more diverse forms of part-time and flexible working time and care leave, and encourage also men to take their responsibilities in caring and domestic tasks. In our SOC Section Action Plan we have several inputs on this field:

We call on all economic and social actors to combat gender discrimination, fight gender stereotypes, empower women, promote social justice and invest more in equal opportunities. Let's use 8 March, International Women's Day, to reflect on how we can actively make every day a fairer one!

Posted by English Editor, on Friday, March 6th 2009 at 09:55 Friday, March 6th 2009 - 09:55 | Comments (0) Facebook Google + Twitter LinkedIn Digg Google Tape-moi Blinklist Furl Reddit Newsvine Y! Blogmarks Technorati Meneame Viadeo Pinterest Tags : eesc women's day | Permalinks