The feminisation of poverty
Reply to Recommendation
| Doc. 11708
| 17 September 2008
- Committee of Ministers
at the 1034th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (11 September 2008)
- Reply to Recommendation
- : Recommendation 1800
The Committee of
Ministers has taken note with interest of Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1800 (2007)
on “The feminisation of poverty”, which it has brought
to the attention of the member states’ governments and transmitted
to the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG)
and the European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS).
The Assembly notes in Resolution
on “The feminisation of poverty”, to which it refers
in the above-mentioned recommendation, that gender inequality is
one of the factors responsible for the feminisation of poverty.
In that respect, the Committee of Ministers recalls the commitment
made at the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government in Warsaw
to step up efforts to achieve real equality between women and men in
all spheres of society, and accordingly to devise effective rules
and machinery to prevent and eradicate gender-based discrimination.
3. These rules have all been brought together in Recommendation
Rec(2007)17 on gender equality standards and mechanisms, which the
Committee of Ministers adopted and addressed to the member states in
November 2007, with strong encouragement to governments to take
or reinforce necessary measures to implement gender equality in
practice, taking fully into account the principles and standards
laid down. The Committee of Ministers also attaches great importance
to gender mainstreaming, particularly in the sphere of social cohesion.
Here it recalls its Recommendation No. R (98) 14 on gender mainstreaming.
4. The Committee of Ministers is aware of the phenomenon of feminisation
of poverty, linked with multiple factors such as unequal consideration
of women’s qualifications on the labour market, a higher unemployment rate
than for men, and frequently lower wages and retirement pensions.
It was specifically to combat these phenomena that the 6th European
Ministerial Conference on Equality between Women and Men, on the
theme of “Human rights and economic challenges in Europe – gender
equality”, held in Stockholm on 8 and 9 June 2006, adopted an action
plan for achieving gender equality in all spheres of society and
a resolution entitled “Achieving gender equality: a challenge for
human rights and a prerequisite for economic development”.
5. This resolution puts forward proposals for strategies to promote
equality between women and men, including gender analysis and provision
by the member states of sex-disaggregated statistics which should enter
into the planning, development and implementation of national, regional
and local policies in their various fields of action. The Committee
of Ministers brought the aforementioned resolution and action plan
to the attention of the governments of the member states so that
they might be guided by it in framing and implementing their national
equality policies, as well as to the Assembly, the Congress and
all steering committees.
6. Unequal division of family and domestic responsibilities (child
care, care of dependent family members, etc.) is a major cause of
discrimination against women on the labour market and of their limited
social and political participation. On that score, the Committee
of Ministers reiterates its appeal to the member states, already
made in its Recommendation No. R (96) 5 on reconciling work and
family life and taken up again in Recommendation Rec(2007)17, to
take appropriate steps to promote equal sharing of tasks in respect
of family responsibilities and ensure that these do not constitute
a source of discrimination.
7. The Committee of Ministers also took care to give prominence
in the latter recommendation to another major indicator of the states’
political will and commitment to equality between women and men.
It concerns the incorporation of a gender perspective into the budgetary
process and its use in all programmes and all fields as a necessary
instrument for ensuring that the principle of equality between women
and men is upheld in the distribution and allocation of resources.
This question will be enlarged upon in particular at a conference
to be organised by the Steering Committee for Equality between Women
and Men (CDEG) in May 2009 in Athens.
8. The Committee of Ministers further draws the Assembly’s attention
to the recommendations made by the High-Level Task Force on Social
Cohesion seeking to intensify promotion of social rights in Europe.
In this context, the European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS)
should initiate work to establish “social cohesion indicators” for
elaborating, through public-private sector dialogue and citizen
involvement, sets of indicators of well-being as tools to reinforce
anti-poverty and exclusion strategies and to ensure stakeholder
involvement in promoting cohesive and sustainable societies.