MEPs CALL FOR EQUAL PAY
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
The continuing pay gap between men and women in the EU, violence against women
and more female MEPs were some of the issues raised in the Parliament during International
Women's Day on Monday. Several MEPs also criticised the fact that Commission
presented a new plan how to reach gender equality in the next 5 years but
did not discuss it with NGOs or the public.
Speaking in the Chamber Parliament's President Jerzy Buzek said "discrimination in society
or at work should be a thing of the past."
UK Liberal Diana Wallis wants more female MEPs - in the UK Parliament she estimated
that it would take 200 years to reach parity an the current rate of progress: "Much has been
achieved, much can be celebrated, but there is very, very much more to do."
On the fact that women earn less than men, Dutch MEP Corien Wortmann-Kool said
women make up 50% of the population but earn only 10% of the world's income. The leader
of the Socialists in Parliament Martin Schulz said that society is not based on equality of
rights if "for the same work men and women get different pay".
Marina Yannakoudakis for the European Conservatives and Reformists said that "the
phrase just a housewife needs to be outlawed, no woman is just anything".
Marta Andreasen for the European Freedom and Democracy bloc asked the EU to stop
issuing demagogic laws on equality that make life more difficult for women who wish to work.
She thinks equality is not about laws but about behaviour. "I would be insulted if someone
would give me special treatment at work merely due to my chromosomes."
The European Commissioner for health and consumer policy John Dalli recalled the
Women's Charter presented on March 5 which is a good basis for EU future action -which
aims at a gender equality plan for next 5 years.
Dutch MEP Marije Cornelissen (Greens/EFA) was sceptical that the Parliament and NGOs
were not consulted for Charter. Now "we need to see deeds rather than just words".
Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson (GUE/NGL) is also deeply concerned about the weak
content of the Charter and no debate, she proposes to use time until next Women's Day in
2011 to discuss with the EP and public the proposals: "We will work for women's rights not
just on this day the 8 March but on all days. That is what men and women in Europe need."