The current economic and financial crisis is having a particularly harmful impact on women, even in Europe. Unfortunately, this aspect has so far not been given the attention it deserves by the Parliamentary Assembly, the Committee of Ministers and Council of Europe member states.
Already before the crisis struck, European women were, on average, poorer than European men, less likely to be gainfully employed, more likely to be earning less, and also more likely to be working part-time (not necessarily of their own choosing). Studies have yet to evaluate the true impact of the current economic and financial crisis on women in Europe, but it can be assumed that women’s employment will become even more precarious as a result.
Much attention has been focused on the male-dominated construction and car industry in contrast to the equally badly affected retailing, services and tourism sectors, in which many women are employed. As the European Women’s Lobby has quite rightly pointed out, it is urgent to address the gender dimension of the impact of and solution to the economic recession in national and European recovery plans.
Fundamental fairness demands that women not be made to pay for men’s mistakes. The financial crisis which started the recession was literally “man-made”; the responses on state and international level – some of which may prove appropriate, others misguided, but none of which are gender-sensitive – have also been decided upon mainly by men. It is high time that women be fully included in the decision-making process in the political, economic and financial spheres.
The Assembly thus recommends that the Committee of Ministers take the necessary measures to ensure that its recommendations and the Assembly’s resolutions in the fields of equal participation of women and men in decision-making, gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting are fully and properly implemented by member states without further delay.