Co-Rapporteur, Lidia Senra, explains that the report “aims to address the root causes of gender inequality in rural areas.”
“Currently, only 30 per cent of farm holdings in the EU are co-owned by women, as women are often simply classified as the landholder’s spouse.
“This report calls for the member states and the Commission to establish laws on shared ownership of family farms or to enforce these laws where they already exist.
“It also calls for the establishment of a professional status for spouses in farming, enabling them to enjoy individual rights, including maternity leave, social insurance against accidents at work, access to training and pension rights.
Senra highlights the important role of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): “The way in which the CAP currently distributes aid – favouring large landholdings – is detrimental to women, because they usually own or co-own smaller landholdings.”
“In addition, many women farmers do not contribute to agricultural social security or start contributing at a later stage. When they reach retirement age, even those who have made social security contributions for some years experience a gender-pension gap and higher levels of poverty. This must be addressed.”
While in many member states measures have been put in place to support women farmers and women in rural areas, Senra explains that “they often face difficulties in benefiting from these measures”.
“The report calls for the Commission and member states to assure gender equality using the instruments available under the EAFRD, Leader+ and Horizon 2020 programmes as well as the European Social Fund.”
The Galician MEP outlines a range of other measures for gender equality in rural areas proposed in the report: “The participation of women in all areas of decision-making, such as institutions, trade unions, cooperatives and negotiation processes must be guaranteed.”
“Policies and services must also be implemented in order to prevent and combat violence against women and these must be tailored to the conditions existing in rural areas.
“Quality public services should be provided to support everyday life in rural areas, including education, health, social services, transport and postal services,” Senra concludes.
Spanish MEP, Ángela Vallina, adds: “Women play a fundamental economic and social role in rural areas. If we want gender equality and cohesion to be more than just principles in the treaties, then we need proper public policies to ensure that these are implemented in rural areas.”
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