Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The EU Has Been a Positive Force for Women since 1957; MICHAEL LLOYD, CLARE WILLIAMS THE REFERENDUM

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The EU Has Been a Positive Force for Women since 1957; MICHAEL LLOYD, CLARE WILLIAMS THE REFERENDUM

Article excerpt

IT is said that the support of women for the 'Remain' campaign is critical to the UK staying in the EU. This is partly because women are particularly keen to learn the facts about the options to remain or to leave.

The EU debate so far has been too much dominated by Conservative politicians and businessmen. Working women's views and perspectives, on the other hand, have barely been covered.

So why should women particularly care so much about the UK being part of the EU? Let's examine some of the issues which are important for women and the answer will become evident.

The European Union has always, since its inception, been a positive force in promoting women's employment rights. It has provided a safety net that safeguards women's access and position in the official labour market and has helped promote a women-friendly policy agenda more widely.

This EU position goes back to the founding Treaty of Rome in 1957, with the inclusion of an article (Article 119) which provides the legal foundations for the developments in the area of equality between men and women at European level: "Men and women should receive equal pay for equal work" In 1976 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) established the necessary legal basis for broadening the principle of "equal pay for equal work" to "work of equal value" (1975 Equal Pay Directive) and equal treatment (1976 Equal Treatment Directive and related directives of the 1980s). The equal treatment provisions cover, as well as access to equal pay and conditions, access to employment, including promotion; access to vocational training; and access to occupational pension schemes.

Wider socio-economic trends from the 1990s led to a renewed interest in the role of women as workers and mothers. Successive legally binding directives covered pregnant mothers (1992), parental leave (1996), and equal treatment in access to goods and services (2004), equal opportunities and equal treatment (2006).

Finally, the launch of the Women's Charter in 2010 represented a further high-level commitment to challenging structural inequalities that prevent women from achieving their full potential, in probably the most developed area of European Union social policy. It can clearly be seen that the European Union has been a positive force in promoting women's employment rights.

However, the achievements of the last 50 or 60 years must not been taken for granted.

Many of the rights and protections enjoyed by British women are safeguarded by our membership of the European Union. New analysis by the Labour Party shows that the experience of the UK's key competitors in the OECD outside the EU indicates the benefits of being inside the EU: | The gender pay gap for women living in EU countries within the OECD is almost five percentage points lower than for women living in non-EU countries within the OECD; | Women living in EU countries within the OECD are entitled to an average of 22. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.