Breaking with the past - International Women’s day 2018

Demonstration in Dublin, international Women's Day

Demonstration in Dublin, international Women's Day

On the 8th of March, international women’s day, our affiliates rallied to promote gender equality and called for a new gender contract.

The ETUC together with  trade unionists across Europe are demanding the swift adoption of the proposed EU Directive on work-life balance. EU legislation in this field is a necessary first step to ensure greater equality.  The directive proposal foresees paid parental and paternity thus creating more and better employment opportunities for women while making caring more attractive for men. The work life balance directive was published in April 2017 and is due to be discussed by Employment Ministers at the European Council on 15 March.

In Spain, 2 hour strikes and mass demonstrations were held across the country, where an estimated 6 million women attended, the largest number ever for an 8th of march demonstration. The demands included fair promotions for women, the closure of the gender pay gap and an end to sexual harassment.  In the Basque country tens of thousands of women supported the strikes called by the trade unions.

In Ireland thousands marched in the demonstration that rallied men and women calling for the repeal the 8th amendment prohibiting all types of abortion. Several trade unions attended the march in support of this demand. EPSU took a resolution on women’s rights just a few months ago.

Other affiliates used social media platforms to express their solidarity with actions carried out across Europe as well as supporting nationwide actions.

EPSU has additionally put the spotlight on missing data on the gender pay gap.

It’s 2018; it’s international Women’s Day and the latest figures show that overall gender pay gap in the EU, the difference between the hourly earning of men and women, is still 16,2 percent . However, this does not reflect the true picture. In its study on gender pay inequality in the public sector, published today, EPSU shows that there are serious gaps in the data collection because the figures do not include public administration. « This means that 15,1 million employees are excluded from the figures, as many as all the employees in Spain, » said Jan Willem Goudriaan, EPSU General Secretary. « That is a major lack of data with serious consequences for policy-making. The European Union must step up its efforts of data collection and include all areas of the public sector when measuring the gender pay gap, » he continued.

International women’s day 2018 pushed for progress. We must break with the past and continue this progress.

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