Edith Lommerse

UWE in action for equal pay women and men

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The University Women of Europe have filled collective complaints against the European Social Charter in 15 countries stating women are not treated equal as they earn structurally less than men for equal work. As an international INGO, UWE is allowed to submit a collective complaint of violation of the European Social Charter.

The complaints for violation of the European Social Charter  for equal pay for equal work between man and women against the following states: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden can be found on the website of the COE. Only 15 countries in 47 states members of the Council of Europe accept collective complaints.

 It is a first in many ways: 15 complaints at the same time! Once they have been 7 complaints on the same subject, never 15 collective complaints. Never any complaint on Equal pay for Equal work” stated Anne Negre, Gender Equality Expert of the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe. It is also the first time that the necessity of equal pay for women and men is addressed in this way.

President  of University Women of Europe, Edith Lommerse about collective complaints :”This is a necessary step. So far discussion  has been on the mechanism and the reasons behind the pay gap, but the outcome is still the same. Women’s work is valued less and in a lot of cases women need to have more qualifications and or more knowledge to be paid equally. It is good to know that some universities have started to pay women the difference like the University of Waterloo. We aim to make governments more aware of the need to make reparations for women. It is not enough anymore to say the intentions are good but the practice makes it difficult. We need to get this obstacle for equality out of the way.

The European Social Charter is a Council of Europe treaty that guarantees fundamental social and economic rights as a counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights, which refers to civil and political rights. It guarantees a broad range of everyday human rights related to employment, housing, health, education, social protection and welfare.

We recommend the following links for tools to help you in your activities, as well as the following additional resources:







More about collective complaints procedure here:




First female President in Estonia

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The University of Tartu

Edith Lommerse, President of University Women of Europe, will participate to the International conference of the university women of the Nordic-Baltic countries “Academic women through time and changes: national and international cooperation” to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Estonian Association of University Women on 8 th October, Tartu.

Participants from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Lithuania and Russia are expected to come and meet with current and former members of the association. Here you can read the entire programme.

We wish them a successful conference and looking forward to hear more about the activities of EAUW in Tallinn.

Photograph: Valda Kalnina/EPA

Until then, news coming from Estonia is encouraging for women leaders, the Parliament has selected a new president who will be the country’s first female leader.

Kersti Kaljulaid, 46, accountant, wins unanimous vote:  81-0, with 20 members absent or abstaining.

The choice of Kaljulaid, who works at the European court of auditors, became possible after the six parliamentary parties agreed to propose a political outsider as a single candidate.

Her election came after the failure of an electoral college to choose a president from five candidates last month. Politicians were unable to pick a president from four candidates in August, according to the Guardian.