PERC Women Committee meeting

PERC Women Committee meeting took place on 17th of March with participation of all committee members and some observers from PERC Youth committee, PERC organizations and Fredrich Ebert Stiftung. The main theme for the meeting was adoption of the PERC women committee’s Work plan for this year and work on the follow up Declaration on COVID-19 crisis and gender.

Anton Leppik, PERC Executive Secretary, presented the main challenges and priorities in the PERC region. Aline Brueser from ETUC presented the ETUC Women’s Committee’s priorities for this year and the work done on the EU Pay Transparency Directive; Chidi King ,director at ITUC Equality department, presented the main activities of ITUC on gender equality and demands for the New Social Contract. Part of the meeting was dedicated to debate the follow up PERC Women Committee’s Declaration on COVID-19 crisis and gender.

The committee members stressed the fact that we can see this year some steps back as concerns achievements in gender equality: from job losses and reduced working hours to increase in domestic violence. At the same time the effects of the pandemic again hit women hardest: women are most likely to continue working in front-lines at any circumstances, but also in households facing consequences of remote work and family care. There is in increase in inequalities and poverty . The last year has magnified the strengths and weaknesses of our societies. In Europe, it has exposed the fragility of public health systems, and the total lack of capacity to respond to such a shock.

The committee considers that one of nowadays priority is to strengthen public health and care systems. This requires public funding and an end to taxation policies that favor corporations and the rich. Governments must act at both national and European level. We owe this to our health and care workers, many of whom are being treated for post-traumatic stress. Increased investment is necessary to guarantee the availability and quality of services, and to ensure access to welfare, housing, water, energy, and education, as well as financing for cities and municipalities. Governments must invest in care economy as a source of job creation!

Participants in the meeting presented some national challenges, activities organized for the International Women’s Day and developments in the PERC campaign for ratification the ILO Convention on violence and harassment in the world of work. The Work Plan for this year was adopted after discussion on priorities and activities to be organized, mainly the PERC Conference on Vulnerable groups and the PERC Women School.