PES Women Gender Equality Network spotlights need for gender sensitive COVID-19 recovery and European Pillar of Social Rights

26/02/2021

PES Women Gender Equality Network

PES Women Gender Equality Network meeting by videoconference 

Gender-sensitive national recovery and resilience plans, coupled with an ambitious EU Action Plan to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights, are needed to recover from the pandemic and to boost gender equality. That was the message of the PES Women Gender Equality Network today.

PES Women met online with representatives of its national member organisations, the European Parliament, civil society, academia and trade unions to discuss the Next Generation EU recovery funds and how to leverage them to progress gender equality.

Participants exchanged on necessary requirements for feminist COVID-19 recovery plans. Gender budgeting, respect for fundamental rights as a criterion for investment, additional support for female-dominated sectors, especially care, and targeted spending on social inclusion - which matches investments in green and digital - are some of the demands on the table. One point was clear for all: involving women and gender equality experts into the drafting and negotiation process is key.

The Network also discussed the upcoming European Commission Action Plan for delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Pillar is a powerful tool in the fight for gender equality. As part of ambitious, targeted measures, gender equality and women’s rights must be mainstreamed across all principles of the Pillar, which will foster social convergence and create a Union with people’s wellbeing at the centre.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“As the €750 billion EU recovery instrument is rolled out to support investment and economic reforms, it is crucial for both EU Member States and institutions to include a gender equality perspective. As we have seen over the past year, it is countries with social democratic governments that are leading the way to build back better for gender equality. We must ensure that all EU funds, in every EU country, are spent in a progressive way. No national recovery and resilience plan must be allowed to perpetuate inequalities. On the contrary, we must strive towards a feminist economy for Europe.

“Moreover, a strong social agenda for the EU is vital to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. Gender equality is a cornerstone of the Pillar, and we must seize the opportunity to place gender equality at the centre of the upcoming Action Plan and the Social Summit in Porto in May. This can only work by including targeted action such as closing the gender employment gaps, investments in all types of care and other public services, improving work-life-balance and representation in decision-making, combatting stereotypes, pay inequality and gender-based violence, to name a few.”

PES Women invited all Network participants to support its #MakeHerCount campaign, which launched last Saturday and will span until International Women’s Day on 8 March. After the Network, PES Women held an online meeting with its members to coordinate and discuss its 2021 agenda.