Consequences of the economic crisis have a greater impact on women than men

A resolution adopted by the European Parliament in plenary session highlights how women are suffering most from the effects of budget cuts in social policies. Along with this resolution, MEPs also approved two more texts introducing the need to fight gender stereotypes in the EU and about the protection of the rights of women in North Africa.

According to the resolution adopted by the European Parliament the difficulties women faced before the crisis, such as unemployment, job insecurity and wage inequality, have been aggravated as a result of the implementation of austerity policies. Cuts in the public sector, for example, are having a very special impact on women, as they represent 70% of total public employment in the administrations of the member states.

Cuts in education, health, childcare and care have forced many women to reduce their hours or to take part-time jobs, decision which not only affect their present income but also their future pensions. In order to tackle this situation, MEPs propose measures to support women which include investing in their training, improving their skills, promoting teleworking and the creation of new job profiles, the promotion of women entrepreneurship as well as the development or childcare structures and increasing the role of women in decision-making.

Two other resolutions have also been approved by the European Parliament on the occasion of the celebration of International Women's Day on 8 March. The first one highlights the need to fight against the stereotypes that promote inequality between men and women and are contributing to the feminization of poverty. To fight against these stereotypes Parliament calls on the Commission and Member States to use the EU funding programmes to encourage more women to enter professional sectors where they are underrepresented and to ensure equal pay for equal work.

Finally, in a third resolution MEPs call for a better use of European instruments to protect women in the countries of North Africa. They asks governments to include the principle of equality between men and women in their constitutions and to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women.