PES Women Annual Conference hears of damage caused by young women’s unemployment
Call for Green economy jobs for women and better maternity coverage Under the slogan “Combating young women’s unemployment”, PES Women organized today its annual conference at the PS Belgium Headquarters, in Brussels. The aim of the event was to look at the specific causes of young women’s unemployment and discuss solutions such as gender budgeting, equal access to green jobs, and reconciliation of private and professional life. Over a hundred participants attended the conference.
This event marks the highlight of the joint PES-PES Women-ECOSY campaign: “Your future is my future: a European Youth Guarantee now!”, which has been launched in March and was the PES theme of International Women’s Day. PES Women has taken part in this campaign to underline that women’s participation on the labour market is essential and this should be integrated in employment policies across Europe.
As proposed by the European socialists, a European Youth Guarantee will ensure that every young person in Europe is offered a job, further education or work-focused training at the latest four months after leaving education or after becoming unemployed.
Zita Gurmai, who was re-elected President of PES Women prior to the Conference, stated that; “at both European and national level we a need better work-life balance. Addressing this imbalance would significantly improve labour market access for women, young and old. For example, the Member states have a responsibility to finally move on the EU maternity directive, which is still blocked at EU Council level”.
Nicolas Schmit, Luxembourgish Minister for Employment and co-chair of the PES Working Group on Youth Unemployment presented the Luxembourgish situation and explained why he pushes for implementing a Youth Guarantee in Luxembourg. Mr. Schmit has already announced that he will introduce the guarantee in Luxembourg in 2013.
Speaking about the need for a European Wide Youth Guarantee, Mr. Schmit stated that; “the Youth Guarantee will bring 2 million of young women and men out of unemployment by 2014. Time has come for a change of politics in Europe and young people, women and men, must be our priority. Women must not be left out of this process; that’s why gender budgeting should be put in place”.
Kaisa Penny, ECOSY President and co-chair of the PES Working Group on Youth Unemployment, made the closing remarks: “Tackling the specific barriers young women face in finding a job must be central to the progressive approach to youth unemployment. As a feminist and young activist, I think we need to greatly improve young women’s access to employment in the growing sectors, such as green economy jobs”.
Two roundtables were held at the annual conference: “obstacles to equal access to labour market” and “guaranteeing employment for young women”