The report, drafted by MEP Maria Noichl of the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee, was adopted by the plenary in Strasbourg with 341 votes in favour and 281 against.
Unambiguous call on the Commission to commit to a new EU gender equality strategy
It unambiguously calls on the European Commission “to draw up and adopt a new separate strategy for women’s rights and gender equality in Europe aimed at creating equal opportunities and based on the priority areas of the previous strategy with a view to ending all forms of discrimination suffered by women in the labour market, with respect to wages, pensions, decision-making, access to goods and services, reconciliation of family and working life and all forms of violence against women and to removing discriminatory structures and practices related to gender.”
So far, there have been rumours that the European Commission’s services responsible for gender equality, headed by Commissioner Věra Jourová, will not table a new gender equality strategy at all, apparently judging it undesirable or unnecessary. Indeed, the topic is not addressed in the Commission’s 2015 annual work programme.
Keep the momentum
Currently, the European Commission is still running public consultation in order to establish if a new strategy is useful at all. Just like the European Parliament and numerous social stakeholders, CESI thinks it clearly is. CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger noted: “The momentum gained through the report of the European Parliament must be kept. First, the EPSCO Council in its next meeting on June 18 should speak in favour of a new strategy. Secondly, it is important that responses to the Commission’s public consultation in favour of a new, strong gender equality strategy are numerous. Then, hopefully, the Commission will realise that women still suffer from disadvantages and discrimination especially in employment and on the labour markets and that a new, integrated and forceful strategy is required to change the status quo.” The Commission’s consultation is still open until July 21. Answers can be submitted by organisations or any individual directly on the Commission’s webpage.