[Brussels, 30 January, 2014] At the annual conference in Frankfurt of IndustryAll European Trade Union Equal Opportunities Working Group, Lisa Hult from the European Women’s Lobby presented the effects austerity policies are having on women in Europe as well as the work that the EWL is doing in this area, such as producing alternative Country Specific Recommendations for the European Semester. The presentation, and the EWLs video-clip on austerity, was well received and set off a unique debate amongst the participants on austerity policies from the perspective of the effects these policies have on the lives of European women and men as opposed to the mainstream debate on macroeconomic growth and public debt.
The participants of the conference, representatives of trade unions across Europe, echoed the findings of the EWL 2012 report on the impact of austerity on women, when describing the situation in their respective countries. They reported closure of child care facilities, reduced accessibility to childcare, cuts in services to victims of violence, proposals to back track on paid paternity leave and continuing precarious employment and poverty.
Clearly austerity is not working. The economy should serve the well-being of all European citizens and not the other way around. It is therefore essential to take gender into account in economic and social policy making.