The Socialists and Democrats secured a majority in the plenary today in Strasbourg for three important resolutions related to gender equality. In the afternoon, the S&Ds also reiterated their support for the #SheDecides initiative and pledged to make a financial contribution to it.
In the resolution on EU funds for gender equality, the S&Ds called for application of gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting across EU budget areas with a view to achieving equality between men and women. The two other resolutions assess the state of play on gender equality and recent tendencies in the EU, and the implementation by the member states of the equal-treatment principle in access to and supply for goods and services for men and women.
During the debate in the plenary, S&D Euro MEPs argued that gender equality, despite being a fundamental value of the EU enshrined in the treaties, has yet to be achieved in practice and added that it must be translated into policies and spending. To attain this objective, they called on the Commission to deliver on the EU’s declared goal of gender equality and put forward measures aimed at achieving a better work-life balance, as well as proposals for legislation on paternity leave and carer’s leave.
The European Parliament’s lead negotiator on EU funds for gender equality, Clare Moody MEP, said:
"The EU's political commitment to gender equality must now be translated into concrete policies and spending. The S&Ds are calling for gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting in all EU budget areas. We also call for gender equality to be reflected in the European institutions, such as in the assignment of auditors in the European Court of Auditors.”
The S&D Group negotiator on equality between women and men in the EU, Pina Picierno MEP, added:
"In times of crises women are hit harder than men. On the top of that we witness growing anti-gender movements. In this lamentable context, it is essential that the EU holds firm against these backlashes. At the same time, the EU, which is a leader on gender equality, must ensure that equality between men and women is respected by its own member states as well.”
MEP Evelyn Regner, the S&D Group’s negotiator on equal treatment in access to goods and services, added:
"The principle of equal treatment of men and women in relation to access to and supply of goods and services is a vital one permeating all EU legislation. However, its application across the EU is not very satisfactory. We must make sure that in an increasingly digital era services in the collective economy are also covered and protected. The S&Ds want the principle to apply in the media and advertising as well because it is mostly in these sectors where gender-based stereotypes and discriminatory portrayals of women are created and propagated."
S&D Group spokesperson on women’s rights and gender equality, Iratxe García Pérez MEP, stated:
“Women's sexual and reproductive health and rights are fundamental human rights. However, today they are increasingly being called into question, leading to thousands of women being deprived of access to legal healthcare by Trump's 'global gag’ rule. We call on the Commission to take up its responsibilities and to contribute to filling the financial gap caused by the ban on hundreds of NGOs working on women's health, maternal care, family planning and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. The S&Ds will continue to support women's sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the #SheDecides initiative.”
Note to editors:
The #SheDecides initiative was launched by the Dutch minister Lilianne Ploumen following the decision which prohibits US government funding for NGOs that provide family-planning services and access to or information on abortions. It is aimed at compensating for the funding gap created by the withdrawal of the US from its international responsibilities as a donor.
On 14 February 2017 S&D president Gianni Pittella addressed a public letter to all heads of governments calling on member states to assume their responsibility and to contribute to #SheDecides in order to counter the financial shortfalls caused by Trump`s ‘global gag’ rule.