Parliament calls for action on gender equality

Women’s Rights Committee Rapporteur Amalia Sartori (EPP) has presented her report on the European Commission’s gender equality three-year road map, which urges “practical steps” from the Commission to redress the 15% deficit that still exists between men and women’s average wages across the EU.

Meeting fellow MEPs in Strasbourg on 12 March 2007, Amalia Sartori presented her report, which highlights that women still earn 15% less than men across the European Union, despite the improvements in their social, political and economic position during the past 30 years.

Sartori stressed that some practical steps must be taken if the Commission ‘road map’ is to have any effect; she was critical of the proposal as “it does not contain a single new legislative proposal”. She also called for paternity leave to be expanded so that it is not just women who stay at home when couples have children.

Research has shown that in the 20-49 age group, employment rates fall by 15% among women if they have a child and rise by 6% in men. The report states that society as a whole should bear the cost of motherhood rather than business.

Integrating migrant women into European societies is also strongly encouraged, as 54% of all immigrants in the EU are women. Language learning and knowledge about local laws also steps that could dramatically improve integration, the report states.

On human trafficking, which it is estimated affects 100,000 people in the EU annually, with children making up 40% of the total, Sartori states that “this modern-day slavery affects more women than men, who are often tricked and sold into prostitution by criminal gangs”. 

MEPs from the Women’s Rights Committee called for stronger action to protect children and women, in particular to protect them from forced marriage, “crimes of honour” and exploitation.

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