European Parliament agrees on new gender equality strategy

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg (Reuters/Scanpix)
6/10/2015 2:49 PM
Category: International

Work place quotas for women, affordable childcare and fighting the pay gap were all agreed upon by MEPs who voted in favor of a non-binding resolution to fight gender inequality.

The European Union needs a better, more effective strategy and clearer targets for achieving gender equality, MEPs agreed.

A non-binding resolution was adopted by the European Parliament who voted by 341 votes to 281, with 81 abstentions, in favor on Tuesday.

The resolution seeks to take more action to combat gender inequality in education, the labor market and decision-making. It also suggested introducing a special budget for gender.

It stated that more actions were needed to strengthen the rights of women who are older, single mothers, LGBTI, Roma, of an ethnic or minority background or who have disabilities.

Special attention should also be paid to targeting cyber-harassment, bullying and stalking. And work should be done to reduce the inequality in the gender pay and pension gap and to create more flexible maternity and paternity leave for parents.

Women should also be helped into the work place by the creation of new better, more affordable childcare.

It was found, moreover, that the council should reach an agreement on introducing compulsory work place quotas for women.

MEPs also called on member states to promote a balanced, non-stereotypical image of women in the media and advertizing.

Rapporteur Maria Noichl, of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, said: “Despite our differences, MEPs focused on our key aim: to finally achieve real gender equality in Europe.

"The resolution will serve as a good, balanced and forward-looking basis for a new women's rights and gender equality strategy for all women and men in the EU."

Currently Estonia has the worst gender pay gap in Europe, with woman earning around 29.9 percent less compared to men. This is compared to the European average of 16.4 percent.

In the Global Gender Pay Gap Index 2014, Estonia ranks at 62.

H. Wright

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