PES Women: Gender equality policies cannot be put on hold amid COVID-19 pandemic

23/10/2020 - PES Women members from social democratic parties across Europe discussed their political priorities and exchanged with European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli

PES Women members meeting by videoconference

PES Women videoconference

Meeting by videoconference, PES Women convened to discuss key issues to advance the gender equality agenda at European level and in Member States. PES Women representatives expressed their concerns not only about the growing backlash against women’s rights but also the lack of focus on the topic in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The urgent need for a feminist economy, dedicated funding to tackle the impact of the pandemic on women’s safety, jobs and rights, and curtailing gender-based violence were all discussed – three very important areas that must not be overlooked in the current political context.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“We warmly welcome the work of European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli to advance gender equality, especially her call to all Member States to ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention and her intention to put forward an EU Pay Transparency Directive before the end of the year. The latter will be a crucial step to advance Europe’s fight to detect, acknowledge and address pay discrimination.

“But much remains to be done and women deserve more vocal advocates in Europe like Commissioner Dalli. Gender equality cannot be put on hold, because women in Europe cannot afford it. Reports in the last months have shown that the gendered impacts of the pandemic are severe and numerous: the burden on healthcare workers and care workers, domestic violence, the impact of quarantine on feminised sectors of the economy, the additional unpaid labour on women as a result of lockdown, access to sexual and reproductive health services, lack of sex-disaggregated data and gendered policy assessments, just to name a few issues.

“Therefore, we call on all political forces in Europe to join PES Women in voicing their concerns and to keep the pressure high on the EU leadership and governments to push for more attention and commitment to the feminist cause. Women are working endlessly to keep our systems afloat and we owe it to them to implement policies that work for them.”

In the PES Women meeting, members also discussed the upcoming campaigns for the European Unequal Pay Day on 4 November and for the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women on 25 November.

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