As the European Parliament voted to adopt a plan to protect the rights and needs of women carers and domestic workers, Julie speaks out on the role of austerity policy in creating inequality, and the need to look out for mental health.
Thank you to the rapporteur for this report and other colleagues too who have taken a very progressive and compassionate view. It is important that we say loud and clear in this debate that the situation of women carers is affected directly by harmful austerity policies, by cuts to public services across Europe, and notably by the Conservative Government in the UK. When women are forced to take up care duties and they are not recognised or supported, we experience a regression: a return to less gender equality. We never talk about the day-to-day hardship that women carers face, or their mental health – and indeed that issue is not really addressed adequately in the report. We need the Commission and Member States to consider sharing best practice on mental health support for formal or informal carers who are left in situations of poverty or hardship with no support. We need to empower local civil society organisations who work on these issues to act and take every step to help the needs of the most vulnerable.