International Women’s Day: our struggle for equality continues

The following statement has been published by the European Left Party

In recent years there has been a brutal increase in gender inequality in Europe and across the world, an inequality that is felt in all areas and not only is there no progress but there has been an obvious regression.

In 2017, there was an increase of such magnitude that we have gone back to the percentages of 2006, placing the global index of the gender gap at 68%. Therefore, the Party of the European Left (EL) must denounce the enormous imbalance between women and men in their political and economic participation which is not only a problem of equality, but a structural problem, in which machismo and capitalist patriarchal systems spread to all social areas.

In the European labour area, the wage gap is at 16%. Currently, the large amount of part-time work, contract instability or difficult access to the labour market for younger women are some of the biggest problems faced by female workers.

Sectors and professions are segregated. In addition, in almost all sectors, men are more often promoted to management positions. This “vertical” segregation explains a significant proportion of the wage gap between men and women, as well as the consolidation of the so-called “glass ceiling” which limits women in their labour and professional progression.

Women are still socially established as fully responsible for childcare and housework. This translates into a difficult reconciliation of work and family life for women, an area in which there is very little regulation and no visibility.

Due to the difficulties that women encounter in this regard, in many cases women are the only ones who take maternity and breastfeeding leave and frequently take advantage of the rights to reduce working hours to care for their children.

On many occasions, they decide to take jobs in sectors that allow them to balance family life and on other occasions, due to the fact that the salary remuneration they receive is lower than that of men, they decide to resign from their jobs, which usually separates them from the labour market.

As a result of these inequalities, women are again discriminated against, as the duration of the professional career has a direct effect on the gap in retirement pensions.

In the field of health and civil rights, the WHO estimates that the complications derived from unsafe abortions cause 47,000 deaths annually and represent 13% of the total maternal deaths in the world.

The right to abortion is a political issue. Denying a woman her right to abortion is limiting her human potential, and that is why this right was one of the first demands for women’s liberation. The decision to terminate an unwanted pregnancy is the response to a personal and private problem at a certain time. It is not a demonstration of your way of thinking or your beliefs.

For all this, as Party of the European Left, we demand in labour issues:

  • The elimination of the wage gap by law, in the case of the EU, as established by the TFEU in its article 157 and in article 4 of the recast Directive on equality between men and women (2006/54/EC) which establishes the principle of wage equality: equal work, equal salary.
  • A real European battle against the sectoral and professional segregation. Combat stereotypes and segregation in education, training and the labour market, emphasizing equal opportunities and promoting access for women in productive sectors which are filled by men.
  • The economic empowerment of women is urgently needed through the promotion of policies focused on the balance between family and professional life.
  • Economic independence, with an effective distribution of housework and with States which guarantee public services, job stability and equal pay.
  • A public system that guarantees decent pensions for all, regardless of the civil status or the work carried out is essential.

We demand decriminalized and free abortion without the limits ofcaseevaluations and legal deadlines, which increase the risks for the health of women due to procedures without medical control, and the social inequality regarding the free choice of motherhood, as well as sexual and reproductivehealth. We also demand the inclusion of sex education and contraception into all European education and health programs.

Finally, The EL supports all the mobilizations that are made on March the 8th: feminist strikes, demonstrations, rallies and all the events that call for equality throughout Europe and the world.

 



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