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Gender equality and the reconciliation of family and professional life

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 12541 | 17 March 2011

Mr José MENDES BOTA, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Ms Olena BONDARENKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Ingrida CIRCENE, Latvia, EPP/CD ; Ms Sahiba GAFAROVA, Azerbaijan, EDG ; Ms Gisèle GAUTIER, France, EPP/CD ; Ms Sophia GIANNAKA, Greece, SOC ; Ms Ana GUŢU, Republic of Moldova, ALDE ; Ms Carina HÄGG, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Olha HERASYM'YUK, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Birgen KELEŞ, Turkey, SOC ; Ms Krista KIURU, Finland, SOC ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Gebhard NEGELE, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD ; Mr Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS, Greece, UEL ; Ms Carmen QUINTANILLA, Spain, EPP/CD ; Ms Marlene RUPPRECHT, Germany, SOC ; Ms Fatiha SAÏDI, Belgium, SOC ; Ms Maria STAVROSITU, Romania, EPP/CD ; Mr Björn von SYDOW, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Gisela WURM, Austria, SOC

Enabling women to combine work with motherhood and other family responsibilities is a crucial prerequisite for gender equality and the welfare of society. Women must be able to earn an income that gives them economic independence without being penalised for being mothers and carers.

Despite a wealth of anti-discriminatory legislation and policy measures, the reality is that women are discriminated against in access to the labour market, have fewer career prospects and earn less than men.

At the same time, the distribution of work at home continues to fall mainly on women’s shoulders.

The limited availability of care services also has a negative impact on gender equality, which might be aggravated by the consequences of the financial crisis.

In order to be able to juggle their multiple commitments, a considerable proportion of women accept temporary or part-time jobs, jobs which are below their qualification levels or have career breaks. This perpetuates women’s segregation to minor positions at work, as well as their economic dependance and inequality in society.

In addition, an increasing number of women choose not to have children in order to pursue a professional career.

The Parliamentary Assembly should conduct an in-depth study on the situation in Council of Europe member states, with a view to identifying best practices and models of legislation and making recommendations as regards:

  • greater equality between women and men in the work place;
  • more investment in good quality care services for children, elderly people and people with disabilities, and their widespread availability for working women and men;
  • better protection of pregnant workers and the protection and/or reintegration in the labour market for women returning to work after breaks due to family reasons;
  • paternal leave;
  • working time and work flexibility.