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EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES: ANNUAL REPORT POINTS UP PERSISTENT INEQUALITIES IN EU.

A report on equal opportunities between men and women in the EU in 2000 was approved by the European Commission on 2 April. The report provides no new data, but synthesises work undertaken on equal opportunities last year in 41 pages. Germany is at the bottom of the EU class on equal pay, and Spain has the lowest female employment rate.The first of the six sections summarises the EU's framework strategy between men and women adopted in June 2000. The strategy covers equality in economic, social and civil life, equality in decision-making as well as the fight against masculine and feminine stereotypes. The strategy is accompanied by a Euro 50 million programme for the period 2001-2005. The second section discusses the 'mainstreaming' of gender concerns into all EU policies, as well as those directly concerned with equality issues. The report recognises that gender mainstreaming efforts must be extended to more policy areas, and that more efficient follow up and statistical analysis is needed.Equality is still a distant goal when it comes to employment, particularly in the areas of pay. Women are paid on average 18% less than their male counterparts. The fourth section of the report covers the equality dimension of EU human rights policies. The year 2000 saw the proposal to update the Directive on equal treatment to include sexual harassment as a type of discrimination. The report also reviews the integration of equality concerns into the enlargement process. The Commission strategy document on enlargement recommended that the first stage of negotiations on employment and social policy should be finished by mid-2001. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Lithuania are congratulated for their advanced policies on equal opportunities, whereas Poland and Turkey are behind in adoption the equality aquis communautaire. Finally, the report notes that woman are still under-represented in decision making in the European Union. The framework strategy will contribute to improving the situation by financing the collection of statistics on women in decision-making. The 'glass ceiling' faced by women trying to set up their own businesses, has only just begun to be treated by policy-makers in a systematic way, says the report. A recent Commission study shows that only 23% of companies are owned by women in the European Union.

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Title Annotation:gender and employment
Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EU
Date:Apr 7, 2001
Words:374
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