The European Parliament has adopted a new strategy on work-life balance, highlighting the need for a push for gender equality in the workforce and in the workplace.
It recognises the need for investment in public services, overcoming gender stereotypes, and increasing women’s representation in sectors where they are underrepresented. The report exhorts the Commission and Member States to end austerity policies which disproportionately affect women.
Julie Ward MEP said, in her speech in Plenary:
“This report highlights the sad reality that women are especially affected by precarious labour, zero-hour contracts and cuts in public services. The Commission and national governments must heed the call here and take action. It is an important example of how the EU promotes gender equality and social justice and why it is so important that we stand up for our core values. As Labour MEPs here in the European Parliament, we have a duty to draw attention to the important work done in this House. We must make sure that our constituents in the UK continue to benefit from the social protection enshrined in EU law, in any eventuality.”
Socialist and Democrats Group spokesperson on women’s rights and gender equality, Marie Arena MEP added:
"Today, women are facing many forms of discrimination. We believe that men and women must be equal workers, equal earners and equal carers.
"Everyone, man or woman, must be supported at different times throughout their life and be able actively to participate in the labour market with the protection of their social rights. This means in particular giving the opportunity for both mothers and fathers to spend quality time with their new-born with an adequate revenue and social protection. We also believe that any woman or man should be able to care for dependants with a revenue and the right to return to work.
"It is unacceptable that 3.3 million Europeans aged between 15 and 34 have had to give up a full-time job because there are no care facilities for dependent children or older relatives."