During the July plenary in Strasbourg, the European Parliament adopted the report on Women’s Poverty in Europe. The report addresses the reality that women continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty and social exclusion compared to men, which has only been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In relation to employment, women’s poverty is linked to discrimination as gender stereotypes influence the division of labor at home, in education, in the workplace and society with women often occupying undervalued and underpaid (if paid at all) positions in these sectors. Notably, women from Roma or migrant backgrounds, women with disabilities or belonging to religious or ethnic minorities face additional discrimination when accessing education, healthcare, employment and social services leading to an elevated risk of poverty and social exclusion.
Noting these troubling disparities, the report calls for concrete actions from the European Commission and Member States in a bid to end women’s poverty. First, the report identifies the need to mainstream gender across policies including homelessness, housing and energy. Moreover, the report summons the Commission and Member States to address inequalities women experience such as barriers to the labor market, access to affordable and quality childcare and long-term care services and to promote access to public pension schemes.
Additionally, the report calls on the Commission to develop an ambitious 2030 European Anti-Poverty Strategy around targets and concrete actions to diminish women’s poverty across the EU. Regarding the Care Strategy, the report proposes the Strategy to go beyond the care sector including a “caring economy” that takes a holistic, gender-responsive and lifelong approach to care which includes fair working conditions, adequate wages and support for informal, formal and unpaid carers as well as those they care for.
To read the European Parliament’s adopted report on Women’s Poverty in Europe, click here.