April 15, 2016 11:34 am
Combating women’s poverty is high up on the European policy agenda, with specific emphasis on groups at risk of poverty such as older women, lone parents, women with a disability, migrant women and ethnic minorities. A woman is considered in the risk of poverty when she earns less than a man for the same amount and type of work and also is a single parent. The gender pay gap is considered the major trigger of female poverty and the risk of poverty among women is higher than in the case of men by 34 percent.
In the European Union, 19% of women live at risk of poverty. The numbers vary across EU countries, with Denmark (7%), Finland (9%), the Netherlands (11%), Czech Republic (12%), Cyprus (12%), Slovenia (12%), and Sweden (12%) reporting relatively low poverty rates while countries such as Romania (30%), Spain (28%), Greece (27%), Italy (24%), and Bulgaria (23%) report high poverty rates.
Given the different faces of women’s poverty across Member States, there is no one-size-fits-all-policy solution. So, the European Parliament has initiatives providing high-quality jobs with a living wage in female-dominated sectors, as well as measures to legislate for a living wage that guarantees workers’ basic needs will be met.
Precisely, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs adopted the own-initiative report by Tamás MESZERICS (Greens/EFA, Hungary) on meeting the anti-poverty target in the light of increasing household costs. The report also urges for measures to end the outrageous gender pay gap in the EU which is a key contributors to female poverty. The European Commission and the Member States are called upon to:
- press ahead with their efforts to tackle socio-economic inequalities, which would ultimately make it possible to reduce some of the inequalities relating to healthcare by focusing their attention on the needs of vulnerable groups such as people living in poverty;
- put in place strategies aimed at reducing the digital divide and promoting equal access to new information and communications technologies;
- do everything possible to ensure that all people have access to drinking water as soon as possible.
The report has been discussed this week by the members of the parliament in Strasbourg. The document passed the first reading, now it will receive amendments and then will go in a second reading in the Parliament.
Female poverty is an important topic in Europe. Also gender pay gap is a topic that will always be on the first pages of written press and will trend on social media. Female poverty is the IATE term of this week.
Written by Raluca Caranfil
Communication Trainee at TermCoord
Journalist & Student at the University of Luxembourg
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