European & International News

Cohesion Policy: gender mainstreaming will make Europe more competetive say MEPs

[European Parliament, Brussels, 15 April 2011] Gender mainstreaming to be implemented in EU cohesion policy for Europe to be competitive, said MEPs in the Committee on Regional Development.

MEPs demanded that gender mainstreaming must be implemented in the EU cohesion policy in a mini-hearing with external experts on Gender Mainstreaming in the EU Cohesion Policy organised by the Committee on Regional Development on Tuesday, 13 April 2011.

Constanze Krehl (S&D, DE) pointed to the tough struggle to get the gender aspect into the cohesion policy horizontally. "Unless we really make an effort and implement it we will not see any changes", she stressed, adding that in 2015 or 2016 the same debate would start over again.

Elisabeth Schroedter (Greens/EFA, DE) said the cross-cutting clause as regards to gender mainstreaming was important and needed to be taken seriously by everybody, also by the Commission. She noted that Commission should not allow programmes claiming gender mainstreaming would be taken into account while implementing and then being dropped.

Sean Kelly (EPP, IE), although supporting the concept of gender mainstreaming, objected the idea of having gender equity in every line of work, however he favoured that for meeting EU 2020 targets and for Europe to be competitive in the world women have to be empowered more, especially in areas where they are making huge contributions and are comfortable in.

What do experts say

Ewa Ruminska-Zimny, Warsaw School of Economics, former Head of the UN Programme on Gender and Economy UNECE, said that modern economy cannot be build through gender-neutral economic policies. She pointed out that the review of the legislative and financial framework for the Social Cohesion Policy after 2013 should be used for mainstreaming gender into the economic pillar of future generation of Cohesion policy - in all initiatives for growth, innovation and competitiveness - and not only in the social pillar.

Presenting the WINNET8 partnership of 8 Member States seeking solutions to address gender inequality and promote economic growth for all, Britt-Marie Söderberg Torstensson, WINNET8 Sweden/Europe, Responsible for Communication and Dissemination, focused on Women’s Resource Centres which were initiated in Sweden and funded through European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Interreg IV C. Its aim is among others to increase the number of women participating in economic life on national, regional and local level.

Referring to the WINNET8 experience, a Commission representative highlighted that to preserve population and to keep economic activities in rural areas jobs have to be preserved and promoted for women living in these areas through the ERDF. He reiterated that there was no contradiction between thematic concentration and gender mainstreaming.

Referring to the European Structural Fund (ESF) and ERDF, Anne-Charlott Callerstig, European Community of Practice on Gender Mainstreaming, noted that there were many interesting initiatives and approaches in Member States but no coherence in how gender mainstreaming was being implemented. She added that the implementation gap was substantial; the importance of gender mainstreaming was recognized in theory but not always in practice.

Source: EP Press info

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