Facts and figures on women’s rights and gender equality are not easy to obtain and compare as every country has its own system. The European Women’s Lobby is pleased to introduce its latest publication Women’s Watch 2012-2013, a feminist overview of women’s rights and gender equality in Europe. This publication is the first of its kind – a genuinely feminist appraisal of the situation on the ground in 30 European countries with regards to women’s rights and gender equality, judged by the yardstick of the European Women’s Lobby’s ideals. The Women’s Watch report is a snapshot of the situation during a two year period (2012-2013) and looks both at legislation and statistical data with 30 very short country pages. The report looks at women’s situation and gender equality in three main areas: women in decision-making, women’s economic independence and care responsibilities, and violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights, while also looking at the links between those areas.
Women in decision making
Women are increasingly visible in elected office, however when it comes to real positions of decision making power; heads of political parties, senior ministries, positions on corporate boards, women disappear. The report also sees that the incremental approach to participation in decision-making without binding measures has been effective in some countries, but it concludes that this has taken decades and that as European elections approach there is no more time to waste: parity works, let’s implement it!
Women’s economic independence and care responsibilities
The report observes that the crisis and austerity policies are potentially jeopardising decades of progress towards gender equality. Women’s employment rates had been growing steadily but have stalled in the last year and the quality of women’s work is decreasing. The gender pay and pensions gap are persistent and are one facet of the impact of provision of care places for children and for the elderly on women’s lives and choices. Therefore the report demands a multi-layered approach that focuses on equality in paid and unpaid work between women and men and on the promotion of women’s economic independence.
Violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights
There is still a high discrepancy between legislations addressing violence against women throughout Europe, therefore creating inequalities between women in terms of protection from violence. Violence against women also remains invisible because of the lack of data, at European and national level. This is why the EWL is calling for a European Strategy and Year to raise awareness and develop consistent action to end this pervasive violation of women’s rights. In terms of women’s sexual and reproductive rights, the report shows that the right to abortion is still not granted everywhere in Europe, and that there is an obvious lack of sexuality education, which is instrumental for achieving equality between men and women.
With European parliamentary elections and a newly appointed European Commission on the agenda in 2014, the EWL, the largest women’s NGO umbrella organisation in Europe,urges decision-makers at all levels to take into account the findings of this Women’s Watch report and to use them as a tool for change towards full equality between women and men, in all spheres of life, including public policies. To download the Women’s Watch in PDF format, click here
For theme specific pages, please click on the theme
Women in decision-making (ENG/FR)
For country specific pages, please click on the country Austria – Belgium – Bulgaria –Croatia – Cyprus – Czech Republic – Denmark – Estonia – Finland – France – FYROM –Germany– Greece – Hungary – Ireland – Italy– Latvia– Lithuania – Luxembourg – Malta –Netherlands – Poland – Portugal – Romania – Slovakia– Slovenia – Spain – Sweden – Turkey– United Kingdom