venerdì 29 maggio 2020

Lettera alla Presidente della Commissione Europea : European Gender Sensitive Stimulus/Recovery plan must acknowledge women as the backbone of society : #HaffOfIt#

European Commission President
Ms Ursula von der Leyen
22  May 2020

Re: A European Gender Sensitive Stimulus/Recovery plan must acknowledge women as the backbone of society : #HaffOfIt#

Dear President of the European Commission, 
Following on from our letter of 3 April[1], the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), representing thousands of women’s organisation, from every part of the European Union (EU) and accession countries call on you to ensure that equality between women and men is at the core of your forthcoming proposals for an EU Stimulus/Recovery Plan.  We were very surprised by the absence of any reference to women in your address to the European Parliament on 13 May 2020, in which you outlined your proposals for the new MFF, own resources and the Recovery Plan[2].
Across Europe, women are sustaining our societies as they are at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic (see EWL’s policy brief). They are the majority of all health care workers providing care to the sick, the elderly, persons with disabilities, persons with special needs, as well as accompanying those towards a dignified death. They are also providing informal care at home during shutdown in many countries, substituting educational professionals whilst juggling their own professional responsibilities and caring for the children of those who are working to sustain all the hospital services; and without which a large number of women will be unable to return to the labour force when the pandemic is over.  
They are securing our food chains as the majority of workers in supermarkets and food outlet services. They are ensuring a safe environment for all, often at the expense of their own and their family’s health, as the majority of workers in the cleaning sector. They are accompanying, soothing and reassuring those for whom this pandemic is causing great distress: women experiencing male violence, homeless women, older women, undocumented women.  In other words, they are the backbone of our society.    
While women have always shouldered the responsibility for the work of sustaining our societies, they are the most undervalued, underpaid workers in these sectors, without which our societies and economies would simply collapse. We believe that the time has come for change by recognising the value of this work and investing in those sectors where women work: health, care, education, tourism, social entreprensurship, to name the most relevant in the current context, sectors in which women of migrant origin and low socio-economic status are also concentrated. The value of care should not be based on legal status of women and care must be valued in a way it has never been before. Not just now but especially in the post-COVID-19 period.  
The ILO[3] has estimated that on an international level, 475 million jobs would need to be created to meet future care needs in education, health and social work, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. In other words, the care sector has huge job creation potential. Europe needs a Care Deal to complement the Green Deal.  This must be mirrored in the forthcoming proposals for a recovery/stimulus plan and in the next seven-year Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF, 2021-2027), the EU’s own budgetary instrument.  In line with the EU’s treaty obligations rearding gender mainstreaming, we urge you to adopt gender responsive budgeting. 
Gender sensitive stimulus /recovery plan is an effective policy strategy towards overall economic policy objectives of jobs creation and inclusiveness.  Given the labour intensity of the care sectors and hence the higher jobs generation capacity compared to other sectoral spending such as physical infrastructure and construction.

Investments are not gender neutral.  Failure to consider the gendered impact of public policies and public investments can actually have the unintended consequence of contributing to increasing gender inequality.  

You now have the opportunity to ensure that your commitment to equality between women and men is implemented, as you highlighted  in your address to the European Parliament in November 2019[4], and in the recent adoption of the Gender Equality Strategy (March 2020). 
Sending a positive signal for a Gender sensitive European Recovery/Stimulus Plan that recognises the different impact on women and men and places equality between women and men at the core, in accordance with the EU treaty obligations, would boost trust in the European project. 
We trust you will give your utmost attention to our call. 
Yours sincerely,

List of signatories:
EWL members: national coordinations and European-wide organisation