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This paper is aimed to discuss the progress of European Union for dismantling gender inequality in the context of employment. The paper is examining the recent EU legislation, policy issues with social and economic challenges faced by men and women. For this reason, certain comments on the solutions and development of EU can help alleviation of gaps in inequalities within employment. The European Union is referred as the European Economic Community consisting 27 member states. It was established by the Treaty of Maastricht on in 1993 on the foundations of the European Economic Community. It is then merged to improve the economic, political, and social interrelation among people residing in these countries (Walby, 2004)
During the 1990s, the EU initiated to realise the significance of gender equality while considering the influence of employment sector. The EU in 1997 introduced the European Employment Strategy that recognises the equal opportunities for both genders. The treaty of Amsterdam was also introduced in 1997 and it was the combination of previous directives along with more positive action to combat equal pay and differences between both genders in employment. There were, however, criticisms of these policies ensuring that more women worked without focusing on the quality of jobs (Alter & Vargas, 2000).
It can be said that the EU failed to implement gender equality in employment completely because it persists the introduction of directives and treaties. The EU has proposed five important objectives within the Roadmap for gender equality. These objectives include equal economic independence for both genders while reconciling private and professional life representing equal decision-making process. Moreover, it also includes the removal of different forms of gender-based violence with stereotypes based on gender and promoting gender equality in external and development of policies (Haas, 2003; Smith, 2012).
The inequality of gender gaps is known to be the first key objective to fulfil EU goals in employment and social cohesion. The demand for the increased participation of women in the labour force provides the contribution of economic development leading to the economic independence for women. It is observed that women are still facing more risk of poverty because of their over-representation in the secondary labour market (Alter & Vargas, 2000).
It is noted that women are employed in unstable employment, which is mostly based on short-term contracts with lower pays and requiring unskilled work. They are more likely to be redundant while suffering from the decline in the labour market. Moreover, the perspective of Marxist feminism state that such type of workers is used to maintain costs at minimum levels through the replacements to more highly skilled and demanding workers (Smith, 2012).
The second objective of the EU is the reconciliation of private and professional life for both genders. The women are known to face more challenges as compared to men when the handling of work and private life is concerned, which ultimately affect their career selections. It is suggested that more women than men work part time jobs and taking more career breaks as compared to men affecting damages on their career (Haas, 2003). Furthermore, women as compared to men are subjected to consider domestic and emotional labour along with parental leave and looking after children and other dependent family members. It is known that the lack of accessible and affordable childcare cause women to face more inequality conditions in employment. It leads to the placement of women in unstable jobs with lower pay making them more vulnerable to the risk of poverty. This condition is worst for the families with single parents having dependents (Walby, 2004).
The third key objective that the European Union proposed included the requirement for equal demonstration of women in the posts of decision-making. The prominent barrier towards the advancement of women in employment comprises of unequal distribution of the domestic labour as well as responsibilities of caring. This caused a need to create, amend and implemented policies and legislations so that women participation can be encouraged in the labour market. It is observed from the European Communities Report 2007 that the predominated jobs of women were undervalued as compared to the jobs of the male. Moreover, the women were paid lower wages and benefits, which destroyed their motive and dedication towards work. For example, more than 40% of the females were employed in the sector of education, healthcare, and public administration while only 20% male was present in this particular sector. In relation to this perspective, it is observed that men also faced discrimination in some specific areas of work (Korpi, et al., 2013).
They are able to access to non-traditional employment as compared to females. The notion of the male nurse is analysed as disgust because of gender stereotypes, which are created by the society. For this purpose, it became essential for EU to consider the implementation and creation of specific policies and legislation so that gender discrimination can be reduced from all the employment areas. However, it is observed that as compared to male, females have to face mostly the problem of discrimination in private jobs other than educational sector and healthcare. In an office job, they are not considered as effective as males and are not even motivated to take part in decision making. For reducing this problem, EU made this prospect its second key objective to handle. The EU made amendments in its directive to ensure that equal treatment in employment (O’Reilly, et al., 2015).
The fourth objective of EU focused towards reducing discrimination in the workplace was revolving around the abolition of gender-based violence. To overcome this problem, they made Daphne programme the aim of which was to support women and children suffering from domestic violence and abuse. They also encouraged the criminalisation of trafficking women and children by making use of exploitation. EU proposed new directives to reintegrate such affected and vulnerable group to the labour market. Their focus was to ensure that they are also provided with a supportive and respectable position in the workplace as compared to other. This contributed a lot to reducing the impact of gender discrimination, as women are the most affected individuals from domestic abuse and violence. Moreover, EU also proposed the support of member states in order to give rise to awareness raising campaigns. They also contributed their efforts in the support of networks that are for both the perpetrators of violence and the victims of abuse (Riva, 2013; Lavena & Riccucci, 2012).
The fifth key objective of EU includes the perception of gender-based stereotypes. This is considered as one of the most significant problems in relation to inequality in employment. The area that is of major concern is the gender pay gap. It is observed that males are paid more as compared to females due to the presence of opinion that males are more prone towards work and are a hard worker as compared to women. For describing this problem, much legislative and no legislative development have taken place to combat the challenges of discrimination. They also focused on promoting gender equality in the employment. Moreover, in order to control the problem of gender stereotypes in workplace, EU recommended policies such as gender mainstreaming, ICT programmes in education, encourages ESF and promoting culture programs with the help of social media. They also set some standards that must be followed by the organisations so that discrimination is avoided in the workplace (Hyman, et al., 2012).
It is found that the four key areas that have been recognised by the commission might entail, that pre-existing lawful structure is completely practical and utilised at the time of detecting the particular area for development. Moreover, the vigorous contribution of all parties is also to be stimulated in all associate of state and the imperative European plan for development and occupations must be useful in full to all owners (O’Reilly, et al., 2015; Haas, 2003). However, beyond all the idea of good exercise at all stages is to be anxious to overwhelm outmoded stereotypes and prejudiced practices. According to “European Pact for Sex Equivalence” highlights the significance of the obligations of the associates of states to respond appropriately in these areas. In addition, numerous other members have united to take conspicuous action about the workforce market, learning, exercise, and the balance of employment and personal life. On the other hand, unfortunately, there has been slight growth in regards to obligations from the other associates of states in order to take appropriate actions tackling these problems as per the report of the commission on job and growth (Korpi, et al., 2013; Riva, 2013).
Moreover, in the protection of the above report asserted to enhance the excellence of figures used in respects to the sex gap and they have also assured to inspire all associates of states to set all-important objectives and restrictions or minimising all sorts of gaps between man and women. However, the commission is also in evolvement of setting up action plans on equivalent chances for its personal staff, it is obvious that inside public management there is a key pay gap which is directly affected by the occurrence of work-related separation and the slight occurrence of women in the position of decision making (Alter & Vargas, 2000; Riva, 2013). Notwithstanding the irresistible indication that an augmented amount of women are turn out to be extremely qualified and there is still a determined reality they are still outstripped by men in top places of order and significance, both in business and politics as well (Alter & Vargas, 2000; Walby, 2004).
It is found that the idea of equivalence also poses as a `competitive benefits` as it uses the workers full effective potential and it inspires the enticements to encourage the good exercise to cope with the differences in the pay of male and female workers. Furthermore, the commission already encourages good exercise by increasing awareness all the way through by offering the different programme. It is noted that the Commission also suggests announcing gender equivalence plans, to eliminate the physical dissimilarities inside the place of work in regards to enlightening the outline of occupations, which are remunerated less. For example, the structure of activities on gender equivalence 2007, suggests awareness raising and working out actions in addition to the progress of wage assessment techniques and approaches to reduce the pay gap (Hyman, et al., 2012; Walby, 2004).
The idea of ‘equivalence’ is essential to the standards of the E.U. Moreover, in spite of the European Union creating vital development over time, in respects to emerging orders, agreements and regulation. Further, the EU has strengthened gender mainstreaming through training and capability creating for those intricate in decision-making.
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