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PES Women President’s blog

Beyond austerity, towards employment and gender equality

On Friday 12 December, I was in Barcelona to participate at the seminar organised by the Foundation of European Progressive Studies and the Rafael Campalans Foundation as part of the “Beyond austerity, towards employment” research project (led by the FEPS).  This one focuses on “Progressive economic policies for equitable growth and job creation”, creating opportunity to discuss the effect or gender-blind austerity policies on the situation of women in Europe. The seminar was hosted and supported by the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC).

In my intervention, I spoke about the ‘silent crisis’ to which I have referred so often. It has put women at even higher risk of poverty and social exclusion.

During our discussions, I highlighted again that the current crisis calls for more gender equality, not less, as to prevent achievements in women’s rights and gender equality from being unravelled or even dismantled. Moreover, women can play an important role in recovering from the crisis and restoring growth and employment.

I reiterated that strengthening women’s participation on the labour market is one of the key targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy across all sectors including in key areas for the future such as the digital economy or the green economy. Hence yesterday’s statement (link to statement) welcoming the initiative of the Italian Presidency of putting Maternity Leave Directive on the agenda. But I also call on the EU as a whole (Member States, EU Institutions) to put gendered policies forward especially when it comes to employment policies, social and economic affairs or structural reforms. Gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting are paramount if we want to deliver policies that really help our citizens. Let’s Europe transpose the good mechanism of gender budgeting as introduced by our SPÖ comrades (Austria) in government. 

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