Thursday, 15 March 2012

Turkey is the first country to ratify the European Convention to combat violence against women

Strasbourg, 14 March 2012 -- Turkey today ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, following a decision taken by the Turkish parliament in November 2011. Seventeen other member states have also signed the Convention since its opening for signature last May in Istanbul.

The Council of Europe has called on European governments to follow Turkey's lead so as to permit the treaty's rapid entry into force.

The Convention recognises that violence against women constitutes a serious violation of human rights and a form of discrimination. It represents a major step forward in combating such violence through measures aimed at preventing it, protecting victims and reinforcing the criminal penalties that can be imposed on perpetrators under national legal systems. In this connection it criminalises acts such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage, harassment, psychological violence, forced abortion and forced sterilisation.

Council of Europe Press Division
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11

Thursday, 8 March 2012

UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet Calls for Women’s Equal Participation in All Spheres of Life as Fundamental to Democracy and Justice

UN Women Press Release
For immediate release

Ms. Bachelet will commemorate International Women’s Day in Morocco, in solidarity with women striving for equality.

Calling for women’s increased political participation and economic empowerment, with a focus this year on rural women, Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet underlines urgent actions needed to ensure gender equality, in her 2012 International Women’s Day message.

On 8 March Ms. Bachelet will commemorate International Women’s Day from Morocco, to underline the need for women in the region to be fully involved in the democratic transition processes. “Women’s full and equal participation in the political and economic arena is fundamental to democracy and justice, which people are demanding,” she says in her message. “Equal rights and opportunity underpin healthy economies and societies.”

The official UN observance for International Women’s Day, with the theme “Empower Rural Women: End Poverty and Hunger,” was held at UN Headquarters in New York on 7 March, 10 a.m. to 12 noon. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the event along with other high-level officials and activists who work on issues related to rural women worldwide. Ms. Bachelet joined the gathering through a video message.

International Women's Day 2012

The proposed reforms in social protection are going to deepen the gender gap in old age income, say AGE and EWL

[Brussels, 07 March 2012] On the eve of International Women’s Day and on the occasion of the EP Interparliamentary Committee meeting on 08 March on ‘Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value’, AGE Platform Europe and the European Women’s Lobby join forces to call for strong measures to meet the needs of older women in light of current reforms in social protection systems particularly with regards to pensions.

“Calling for equal pay for work of equal value is important but not enough to ensure that women also enjoy equal rights to a fair and decent pension income. The gender pay gap and the gender pension gap are two sides of the same coin, stressed Cécile Gréboval, Secretary General of EWL. We must look at a care credit system which takes into account time spent outside of the labour-market for caring responsibilities for the benefit of the whole of society. Both women and men must be able to be workers and carers at different moments in their lives without being sanctioned in old age”, she said.

EU leaders are increasingly pushing to align effective retirement age with life expectancy. While most countries are increasing the number of years to contribute to a full pension, little is done to compensate for the career breaks mostly taken by women take to care for dependent relatives.

“With the on-going drastic cuts in subsidised child and eldercare services, the burden of informal care on women will increase and women will face even greater difficulties to build adequate pension rights. This will aggravate the gender gap in old age income”, warned Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe, adding “the European Union has a key role in this field and its proposal for legal provisions on carers’ leave at EU level is most needed”.

Older female workers today face additional risks of poverty in old age as a result of the strengthened link between pension contributions and benefits. Unless transitional measures are introduced to avoid blaming these women for the career breaks they took to raise their children when no alternative was available, the gender gap in pensions will increase very severely for these cohorts.

Another detrimental trend for gender equality is the increasing reliance on supplementary pensions to ensure an adequate replacement rate. This again will lead to a greater risk of poverty in old age if nothing is done to address the discrimination that women suffer in these schemes due to various reasons, including women having lower incomes, labour market segmentation, unequal pay and uncompensated career breaks for time spent out of the labour market caring for dependents.

Europe’s economic recovery depends on its ability to make the best use of its human capital. When reforming their employment, pension and care systems, Member States must ensure that all together their systems will contribute to gender equality for all age groups and empower women to take a more active role in the labour market through age and gender-friendly labour markets and social protection systems.

Press release European Women’s Lobby