PES Women Gender Equality Network presents ‘A Feminist Economy for Europe’

29/05/2020

Gender Equality Network

Gender Equality Network meeting by videoconference

A feminist economy is vital for any economic recovery and the only way to ensure women, in all their diversity, can live and work on equal terms with men, the PES Women Gender Equality Network said today.

PES Women and its member organisations met online with MEPs, Commission representatives, civil society, academia and trade unionists to exchange on a new draft publication ‘A Feminist Economy for Europe – Towards a progressive economic system that works for women’.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“Overcoming this pandemic and rebuilding a sustainable, just and equal society will only be possible if the role of women in this fight and in general, beyond this crisis, is properly recognised and the disproportionate burden they are carrying is addressed accordingly. As we recover we must finally shift towards a more equal and just society that leaves no one behind. But words are not enough. We all together need to contribute to a recalibration of how economic policy is approached and practiced so we can stop discrimination in our society and achieve wellbeing for everyone, women and men alike”

ETUC Deputy Secretary General Esther Lynch reminded:

“Millions of women have become essential workers during this  pandemic, but the work they do is often underpaid and undervalued. A feminist economy means overhauling  the business model based on low paid, insecure jobs and the exclusion of women from decision making. The EU Recovery package is a chance to rebuild a more equal society. It means investment in care infrastructure and other public services, allowing women to participate in work, politics and society equally. It also requires guaranteed rights, equal pay, work life balance, and representation in the boardroom. And, importantly, a feminist economy is founded on social dialogue and the right to trade union representation”

S&D and PES Vice-President Helene Fritzon added in the meeting with the members:

“The corona pandemic affects people in the EU in many ways. But women are always affected the worst by the consequences of a crisis. The EU should set up a special women's corona fund to address this. It could, for example, boost resources to tackle gender-based violence and invest in education to increase access to, and create more opportunities in, the labour market for women.”

Through this publication - ‘A Feminist Economy for Europe’ - PES Women sets out its feminist vision for a progressive economy that is based on gender equality, intersectionality, inclusivity, diversity, solidarity, dignity, justice, human rights, wellbeing and sustainability. The publication focuses on four areas: an inclusive and gender equal labour market; the value of the care economy; gender-just business practices; and, gender mainstreaming economic transitions.  After extensive consultation, a finalised publication will be presented later this year.

The COVID-19 crisis makes a feminist economy more relevant than ever. It is clear just how much our societies and economies rely on women, as low-paid frontline workers risking their lives in essential services and as unpaid carers taking responsibility for their families and homes in lockdown. And yet, women are disproportionally at risk of lay-offs from their precarious jobs and look set to be hit hardest by the economic downturn. A feminist economy must be central to the recovery.

Today’s Gender Equality Network, which saw 42 people come together to discuss the PES women draft publication, follows on from strong calls by PES Women for a feminist response to the COVID-19 crisis. PES Women has inter alia sent a letter to the European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen, coordinated with PES Gender Equality Ministers and gender-mainstreamed the PES recovery plan.

Prior to the Network, PES Women held an online meeting with its members to coordinate and discuss its work programme.