Valencia, Comunidad Valenciana (E), 19 September 2008
Figures are still poor in relation to gender equality in Europe: although women's success rates at school and university are higher than men's, their rate of employment is much lower (57.2%) and the average pay gap between women and men is still around 15% for the same work and equal skills. In addition, women hold the majority of part-time jobs (76.5%), but only 33% of them are in executive positions (*).
The 8th Assembly of European Regions' (AER) conference on equal opportunities between women and men concluded today in Valencia, Spain - more than 130 participants analysed the difficulties women still encounter in accessing the labour market and shattering the 'glass ceiling' to top jobs.
AER is now calling for greater co-ordination between European, national and regional policies to break the ongoing patterns of inequality in women's and men's career options.
"Of course the absolute priority is to combat gender stereotypes. Through legislative and financial efforts, we must focus on three priorities: career guidance and training, reducing pay gaps and reconciling professional and private life," said Michèle Sabban, AER Acting President and President of the Observatory on Gender issues and Vice-President of the region Ile-de-France (F).
"Regions today have already taken the lead! We have decided to create a Regional Equality Pact that will award a quality label, "Equal Enterprise", to companies that are striving for true gender equality in the workplace.”
Ms Sabban added that the awarded companies could get special aid or bonuses, such as tax reductions in regions that have competencies in taxation matters.
AER further recommends the application of gender-sensitive indicators designed to collect gender-based data and statistics, accurately identify the barriers to equal access to employment and better define the tools and training schemes that should be put in place.
In condemning all forms of discrimination based on sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation, the AER 'Social Policy and Public Health' Committee fully supports all European Union legislation that upholds equal rights for all citizens.
The Valencia Declaration on equal access to the labour market, as well as previous political positions adopted by the AER, can be accessed at: http://www.aer.eu/en/main-issues/equal-opportunities/declarations.html
*5th Report on equality between women and men 2008, COM(2008) 10, European Commission, DG EMPL, 2008
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 270 regions from 33 countries and 13 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
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