PES Women Annual Conference in Sofia
“It’s about time to close the Gender Pay Gap”, says PES Women President The PES Women Annual Conference, entitled “Women up! Against the Crisis”, took place today 21 June in Sofia, Bulgaria. This major event welcomed high-profile speakers from all over Europe to debate the consequences and solutions to the devastating effect of the crisis on women. The Conference was also the occasion to launch the new PES Women Campaign on closing the Gender Pay Gap: “Equal Pay, it’s about time!”.
PES Women President Zita Gurmai pointed out that; “since the beginning of the crisis, we have witnessed an increase of the Gender Pay Gap across Europe; women’s wages have been systematically undermined by conservative policies; and budget cuts have hit programmes and funds that either employ or empower women: public administration, health care sector, education, child care… We must avoid the self-defeating pretext that ‘in times of crisis, there is no place for prioritising gender equality’ and push for more and better jobs for women, ensure women’s access to employment in the growing sectors and encourage female entrepreneurship. For PES Women, more gender equality, and not less, is the way out of the crisis”.
“Equal Pay, it’s about time!” will be the PES Women flagship campaign until the 2014 European elections, and it outlines three key demands:
- To establish a common target of reducing the Gender Pay Gap by 2% per year and per Member States for all age groups – monitored by audits at European level.
- To introduce clear and dissuasive sanctions in the European legislation in case of non-fulfilment of the objectives.
- To appoint a European Commissioner for Gender Equality and Women’s Rights to be fully engaged on this issue as of 2014.
At the launch, the campaign video was publicly screened for the first time. PES Women also shared its plans to develop a website that will gather activists, individual stories and international events.
The Annual Conference, which took place the day before the PES Council, hosted two roundtables: “Why a ‘silent crisis’ for women?” and “How women rise up against the crisis?”. The debate focused on the importance of increasing the presence of women in economic and political decision-making in order to overcome the crisis.