We must eliminate austerity policies to achieve gender equality
GUE/NGL Shadow Rapporteur for the report on Equality between men and women in the EU in 2014/2015, Stefan Eck, told the plenary: “Last week it was International Women's Day and we used the occasion to highlight the terrible situation that still exists regarding gender equality.”
“We are seeing a growing feminisation of poverty in Europe triggered by the austerity measures that are being imposed on everyone, especially in relation to health care and public services.
“These austerity measures threaten the quality of health care provided especially for young children and old people, as care services are often the most affected.”
Eck called on the member states “to support horizontal cross-cutting solutions to counteract these terrible developments.”
Vice-Chair of the Commitee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, João Pimenta Lopes, explained: “Discrimination is exercised in the services offered by the banking and insurance sectors, when values and prices are differentiated according to gender, via factors associated with family planning, pregnancy and maternity. It also occurs when women try to obtain loans, or rent or purchase housing.
“This reality cannot be separated from the policies of exploitation and profit, as well as the policies of the European Union; the policies of austerity and impoverishment that promote low wages, precarious work and deregulation of work and working hours.
“Gender-based discrimination should be condemned and eliminated. We need to strengthen access to free high quality public services, particularly in sectors such as health, maternity and childcare services.”
Spanish MEP, Ángela Vallina, added: “We must ensure that people believe in gender equality. It is a political principle and it is required in order to move towards social democracy, equal rights and a just and fair society.”
“In 2017, there is a gender pension gap of around 40 per cent; the average salary gap is around 17 per cent; and one in three women in Europe has suffered sexual and or physical violence against them.
“We must have appropriate budgets provided to implement laws for gender equality. Laws without adequate budgets – such as the law of dependency and others in my country – are really not worth the paper they are written on.
“We must move from discussion to action to ensure that we really do have a fair society,” Vallina concluded.
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