Fabian Demicoli

Equality between women and men

 The GRTU, Malta Chamber for SMEs, has recently participated in a conference to debate and stimulate progress on the advancing issues for gender equality identified at the European Commission.  

 

During the first session the Commission presented for debate the 'Strategy for equality between men and women (2010 – 2015)', within  which this strategy is and will  be implemented. The Conference also discussed in detail the priorities for gender equality policies at European level and the new challenges for gender equality in the 21st century.

The conference discussed the Equal economic independence and the contribution of women in  achieving the Europe 2020 targets. Discussed in detail were the causes and consequences of the current employment rate of women in the context  of the employment target set by Europe 2020 Strategy for smart sustainable  and inclusive growth. It also explored ideas and initiatives to progress the employment rate of women within the Europe 2020 strategy with comparisons between European and international initiatives.

The Equal pay for equal work and work of equal value, responding to uunequal pay was presented for discussion.This session discussed the obstacles to advancing equal pay for women and men, the responses required to unequal pay and the case for action on this issue. It explored ideas and initiaties to advance equal pay between women and men. The International comparative approaches in the field of equal pay policies, addressing the gender pay gap and the point of view of the European Social Partners were discussed in detail.

A debate took place about the life cycle perspective on economic equality for women and men. It examined the causes and consequences of gender inequalities in the sharing of caring responsabilities, the impact of parenthood and the impact of demographic ageing. It also explored ideas and initiatives to advance gender equality in these areas over the lifecycle. In detail also discussed were; the sharing care responsabilities between women and men; women and men's careers: the impact of parenthood and the demographic ageing and the shared consequences between women and men.

The last session commenced by discussing the dignity, integrity and an end to gender-based violence eliminating all forms of gender-based violence. This session presented for debate the levels, forms and sources of violence against women and the responses developed to these issues. It explored ideas and initiatives to advance the struggle to eliminate all forms of gender based violence by discussing violence against women in Europe, combating violence against women and domestic violence, the gender aspect of the European anti-trafficking policy and also the NGO's actions for Women's dignity.

The Equality in decision making: diverse approaches for gender balanced corporate boards were also discussed and diverse instruments were presented to improve the gender balance in corporate boards such as the quota legislation: an effective tool to make rapid progress, the self-regulatory measures to promote gender balanced boards and an example of good practice by the corporate sector.

The participants came from many different countries within and outside Europe. Participants included Public Sector Officials, MEP's, Researchers, Representatives from NGO's, Ombudsman, Trade Union Officials and Representatives and others. The Conference was attended by approximately four hundred participants.

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