“Women have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response, working across essential, frontline sectors and providing care for family or persons in need of assistance. Yet they are disproportionately affected by the health and socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. The EPP Group wants to ensure that a strong, inclusive recovery follows this crisis, resulting in a more gender equal society”, said EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber MEP in welcoming the Group’s new Position Paper on Gender Equality.
“Our Position Paper on Gender Equality outlines key policy actions to enable the EU to create an environment that supports true equality and protects the rights of all citizens. Empowering women as citizens and economic actors will be critical for the future prosperity of our economies, our societies and in order to tackle poverty”, said EPP Group Spokeswoman on Women’s Rights, Frances Fitzgerald MEP.
The EPP Group adopted a comprehensive Position Paper on Tuesday outlining the Group's goals and planned policy actions to significantly increase gender equality across the EU.
As a higher proportion of women work informally and in more vulnerable sectors, their job loss rate is 1.8 times greater than that of men. The poverty rate among women could go up by 9.1 percent as a result of this pandemic; therefore addressing women’s needs must be at the heart of our recovery efforts, according to Fitzgerald:
“Women continue to be under-represented in senior positions, despite the fact that they account for nearly half of the workforce and more than half of university graduates in the EU. Indeed, despite often-higher qualifications, women are more likely to work part-time. Combining work and family life poses many challenges and women in particular seek to adjust their careers due to family life and care responsibilities.”
The EPP Group stands for equal pay for equal work between men and women and supports working towards a harmonised European framework on pay transparency in coordination with Member States and with due account for the unique circumstances of small to medium-sized businesses.
The importance of education, training and lifelong learning for enhancing equal opportunities is emphasised by the EPP Group, with a particular focus on digital skills, science, technology, Artificial Intelligence, engineering and mathematics. Women’s creativity and entrepreneurial potential remains an untapped source of economic growth and jobs. Female entrepreneurship and access to finance could be advanced through EU funding and supported by the European Investment Bank.
Combatting violence in all its forms is an absolute priority for the EPP Group, as Fitzgerald underlined: “The EU, Member States and authorities must do everything in their power to eradicate violence against women, to support victims and to prosecute perpetrators.”
“We must do more than just applaud the women who have kept Europe going through this pandemic every day, including the 78 percent of EU healthcare workers that are women. We must deliver on promises of equality”, Fitzgerald insisted.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States