[Brussels, 07 November 2012] On 01 January 2013, Ireland will take on the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The European Women’s Lobby calls on the forthcoming Presidency to be a driving force for women’s rights in Europe, especially in the current crisis, ensuring that further cutbacks which would have a long-term negative impact on gender equality are avoided or reversed.
The EWL has listed eight priorities for the Irish Presidency in the area of gender equality and women’s rights:
- Ensure no deterioration in the level and predictability of EU funding for activities on women’s rights and gender equality within the final decision on the EU Multi-annual Financial Framework 2014-2020;
- Take a leadership role in the Council negotiations to advance the adoption of the revised maternity leave Directive;
- Bring back the issue of violence against women on the political agenda of the EU;
- Support the proposal and adoption of efficient binding EU-level legislation to reach parity on company boards;
- Change legislation in order to reach the highest standards of sexual and reproductive health and rights, including sexual education and information for all young people;
- Stress that the economic independence of women is a condition for equality between women and men throughout their lives and that it includes, among others: quality employment, gender pay, pension and poverty gaps, accessible and affordable care, social and health services. These issues should be at the core of all mechanisms of the EU 2020 Strategy;
- Take a leadership role in developing targets and standards on quality and affordable care services across the life-cycle for children, dependent and elderly persons;
- Take a leadership role in the Council negotiations to progress towards the adoption of the draft Directive on combating discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, age, disability or sexual orientation, including regarding the need to examine causes of multiple discrimination.