100th International Women’s Day: Austerity, celebrating the setback for gender equality in Europe!
(March 8) The European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU) wants to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the celebration of working women. In 1911 after the call by Clara Zetkin hundreds of thousands of women, many of them trade union members, demonstrated for equality, justice and fair pay.
Today, the public sector employs more than 60 % of women in Europe. The economic crisis which governments shortsightedly resolve by unilateral austerity measures and ensuing pay cuts in the public sector impact deeply in many and different ways on the working conditions of women. Women are facing job cuts, increased responsibilities in all areas of their lives and an increased risk to be subject to violence. Women are already more likely than men to be unemployed, to lack social protection, to be under-payed caused by wage dumping and to be at the margins of decision-making in all areas.
The cut backs also in the public welfare system reinforce the tendency that women are disproportionately affected by precarious work, discrimination and unfair treatment. Atypical and temporary employment, part-time employment without perspectives of upgrading, irregular shift-systems in the health and social services are many examples of work inequalities that hit hard on women.
Services and community projects supporting women will be particularly vulnerable to cuts, including children’s services, rape-crisis centres and women’s refuges - the majority of which are also staffed by women.
If we do not want further setbacks, we the public service unions will have to improve the position of women and step up our actions in the context of collective bargaining and social dialogue at all relevant levels.
Now, and in European solidarity as working women will not wait for another 100 years!
To celebrate this day EPSU has published its Equal Pay survey, you can read about here: http://www.epsu.org/a/7416
For more information contact Christine Jakob, cjakob epsu.org or Pablo Sanchez, psanchez epsu.org, 00 32 4 74 62 66 33