Women discriminated against in Europe

This video from the USA says about itself:

April 26, 2013

Women employed full-time make over 11-thousand dollars less than men per year. How does that gap affect their quality of life? Robert Traynham speaks with Sarah Crawford of the National Partnership for Women and Families. Visit NPWF on the web at www.nationalpartnership.org.

From the university of Leicester in England:

Women missing out on bonuses – New study

03 July 2013

Sexism Still a Secret Scourge in EU, suggests new report

Austerity measures and deepening economic crises across Europe are increasing cases of discrimination against women, a new study co-led by the University of Leicester has discovered.

Women are particularly missing out on bonuses and promotions, and discrimination based on prejudices and gender stereotypes is very much alive in EU countries, the researchers state.

The study found:

In some EU countries, women had to sign a ‘blank resignation’ at the time of appointment which would come into force if they fell pregnant
Health and safety requirements are used as an excuse to remove women from the workplace
Pregnancy and maternity are often the cause of non-renewal of fixed term contracts and/or project work
Women are subjected to ‘negative stereotyping’ in the workplace- ie they are seen to be carers for children and family first rather than workers with full employment rights
In some EU states, women of child-bearing age are simply not selected for a job

Eugenia Caracciolo di Torella, from the University of Leicester School of Law, has co-authored the report for the European Commission “Fighting Discrimination on the Grounds of Pregnancy, Maternity and Parenthood: The application of EU and national law in practice in 33 European countries.” The report was written in association with A. Masselot from University of Canterbury, NZ and S. Burri from University of Utrecht.

Dr Caracciolo Di Torella said: “One of the most surprising factors has been to realise the negative impact role that gender stereotypes continues to play across Europe in the 21st century.

“This is particularly extreme in certain Member States such as Romania, where women in child-bearing years are simply not selected for a job or parents with prams are not welcomed into shops for fear of shoplifting.

“However, it seems also to apply to Member States where we generally think that gender equality is an uncontroversial state of play. In Sweden, for example, it is the opinion of the Equality Ombudsman that “young women are systematically discriminated against.”

The report, published on the website of DG Justice and on EU Bookshop, aims to assist the Commission in its monitoring work, in particular by identifying gaps in the transposition of existing legislation at national level and highlight good practices.

The report looks at the position of working parents across the EU Member States with a view to highlighting gaps, as well good practices. It shows that, on the whole, national statutory rights relating to the protection of pregnancy, maternity and parenthood in the workplace across Europe are of a reasonable standard. Thus, the EU has successfully established a common ground and often domestic legal provisions go beyond the obligations set by the EU.

Dr Caracciolo di Torella adds: “Yet, despite extensive legislation, pregnant employees and working parents continue to experience high levels of discrimination and difficulties. Whilst, on paper, the law exists and is comprehensive, in practice it is too often circumvented.

“This happens in various areas: for example, although it is direct discrimination not to employ a woman because she is pregnant or might intend to get pregnant in the near future, it is not always possible to monitor what happens during an interview. Certain questions might be asked, and certain assumptions might be made: there is evidence that discrimination based on prejudices and gender stereotypes is very much alive.

“Equally, although it has long been established that it is contrary to EU and domestic legislation to dismiss a woman because of her pregnancy or caring responsibilities, this continues to happen. In some countries (Italy and Greece) women were asked to sign an undated resignation letter (so called “blank resignation) at the time of recruitment so as to be used by the employer to make the worker resign when needed (ie when pregnant).

“Another cause of discrimination is the health and safety requirements which, in practice, are often used as an excuse to remove woman from the workplace. Pregnancy and maternity are often also the cause of non-renewal of fixed term contracts and/or project work. This is not done expressly but the effect remains the same.

“The biggest area where discrimination takes place is that of pay and promotions. Although the European Court of Justice has provided guidelines, women still miss out on bonuses. In many Member States across Europe, employers are allowed to take periods of maternity/parental leave in order when calculate seniority and this means that individual (women) miss out on promotions.”

Dr Caracciolo Di Torella added: “Pregnancy and maternity and parental related discrimination has increased since the economic downturn and women have been particularly hard hit by the consequences of the crisis. Mothers are often being made redundant because they are unable to be, or become, flexible enough because they have care requirements to address as well as their paid employment.”

Dr Caracciolo di Torella calls for:

systematic monitoring (eg: systematically requiring the employer to justify the dismissal of employees who return from parental leave; following trend and statistics in companies of who and when people are recruited and dismissed);
increase gender equality and fighting stereotypes, inter alia, by promoting the involvement of men in the care of young children;
automatic sanctions for offending employers.

She concludes: “Undoubtedly the key message is that having children is not a “selfish act” but a productive activity of society that should not be devalued. We all (State, public/private companies and society as a whole) benefit from and free ride on the work done by parents and carers (who, to date, remain mostly women).

“Furthermore, discrimination on grounds of pregnancy and maternity are only symptoms of a broader issue, namely discrimination on grounds of caring responsibilities.” She argues that the concept of discrimination on grounds of caring responsibilities is lamentably lacking from the legal framework and for this purpose she is co-writing a book with Masselot on this point (Who Cares?, Routledge 2014)

The complete text of the report is available here.

9 thoughts on “Women discriminated against in Europe

  1. Reblogged this on winterdominatrix and commented:
    This is the sad rationale some women use to justify wanting to legalize prostitution. What humanity should be doing, is paying all it’s citizen’s equally, especially those left with the burden of raising it’s youngest members.. Then that gets rid of the lack of choice the women have to pay their bills and raise children. Women are given the opportunity to be a thief or whore to make up for the wage gap under this system. Sexual harassment for equal pay or higher pay becomes the abused norm that will get you fired upon speaking about it.. This would also encourage women to make their own way instead of trying to live off her husband’s success. Not as many women would marry a man with a good job as a ‘life goal’.


  2. Pingback: South Korean sexism | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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