Today, 8th March is celebrated the International Women´s Day and coincidence or not my wife is going work overseas and for the first time I will have manage myself with the household and take care with my little daughter. Therefore I dedicate this article for all Women who fought and still fight for the Gender Equality to be reality.
It is unbelievable as 100 years the woman couldn´t vote, the majority didn´t work, their place were take care of the home and were financially dependent for the man. According to the law the women were inferior to the men and I feel ashamed for too long this injustice and irrationality have persisted and accepted by the status quo.
Nowadays, the reality has changed a lot and we have women leading influential and powerful countries, leading the most successful companies and leading global organizations. Being a reference not only to other women but also to many men. But despite all the achievements even today the inequality between Women and Men is striking, as demonstrated by the Gender Equality Index 2017.
The Gender Equality Index is a useful tool and robust measurement tool that can help monitor the impact of these policies over time. This Index measures the evolution over a period of 10 years of 8 parameters of Gender Equality:
8- Intersecting Inequalities.
The Gender Equality Index 2017 report elaborated by European Institute for Gender Equality (http://eige.europa.eu/rdc/eige-publications/gender-equality-index-2017-measuring-gender-equality-european-union-2005-2015-report) that I recommend reading carefully mention despite all the efforts and improvements, there is still a log way to go.
The average score in the Gender Equality Index 2017 in the EU-28 is 66.2 and in the last 10 years it has only increased 4 points. The country where is most equality between women and men is Sweden with the score is 82.6. The country that made the most progress on the last decade was Italy, which increased 12.9 points but is still below the EU average score.
PORTUGUESE MEN IN THE GROUP OF THE LEAST ENGAGE DAILY IN COOKING AND HOUSE WORK.
One of the most shameful scores for men is even at home, according to this report only 34% of European men engage daily in cooking and house work, compared with 79% of women. More importantly, over the last 10 years, there have been almost no improvements towards gender equality in this area across the EU. Unfortunately the Portuguese Men together with Italians, Bulgarians and Greeks are the least help at home. Only 40% of women spend their time in social activities, in contrast to 60% of men. That is why is fundamental DEVELOPING STRATEGIES THAT PROMOTING EQUALITY AT HOME.
BEING A MOTHER MEANS A FINANCIAL PENALTY AND AN EARNINGS BOOST FOR MEN.
Unfortunately, the data show that there is still a large wage gap between men and women in the EU, although this difference in the last decade has significantly decreased. In 2006 a Woman on average earned less 39% than the Man and in 2014 this difference moved to the 20%. Interestingly, the average wage gap between single women and single men is 14%, but if we compare the two sexes with married marital status the difference grows to 30%. Married and with children the difference is 38%. Already between single mother and single father the difference is 40%. Apparently being a mother is financially penalizing and being a parent boost his income, without realizing if there is a direct relationship or is just a coincidence.
WOMEN DOUBLE PENALIZED IN THEIR RETIREMENT PENSION
Another aspect that is doubly penalizing for Women is the retirement pension. In most EU Member States, the retirement pension is based on wages and years of contribution. Not only the salary is higher in Men, but also Women’s working time is on average shorter 5 years, often because they give up their careers to educate their children. Therefore, in 2012 the average retirement pension for Men was 38% higher than for Women and unfortunately this difference increased to 40% in 2014. For example, in Germany in 2012 this difference was 45%. So there is fundamental to change the rules to at least ENSURE THAT THE WOMAN WHEN SHE IS SACRIFICIAL FOR THE HOUSE AND FOR THE CHILDREN IS NOT PENALIZED IN HER REFORM.
GENDER QUOTAS CONTRIBUTE TO GENDER EQUALITY
To be honest I was not an enthusiast when gender quotas was implemented in Portugal in 2006, that forced the parties to have at least 33% of both sexes in the lists for either the Portuguese Parliament, the European Parliament and the local councils. However, there is no doubt that after 12 years the gender quotas has allowed the Portuguese Parliament to have 35% of MPs and although we are still far from the 47% of women in the Swedish Parliament, we are the 8th country in EU with the highest balance representation of the MPs with women and man. Therefore, we can conclude that THE GENDER QUOTAS FULFILLED ITS MISSION.
In UK with the first-past-the-post electoral system, it is more difficult to develop a law like the Portuguese one to promote greater Gender Equality in the British Parliament. But in the Labour Party there are some constituencies in which only women can stand and the Party also define in many others roles the obligation of the woman to be represented at least 50%. The Oxford Labour Party challenges women to take leadership. Annelise Dodds MP represents the Oxford East Parliament Constituency, the Chair of the party, the leader and deputy leader of the Oxford City Council are women. In Parliament are 45% women Labour MPs while only 21% of Conservative MPs are female. The results about gender equality in Parliament achieved by Labour Party are very encouraging and should be implemented across the UK.
Another good example of the implementation of gender equality quotas is in companies. In 2008 Norway obliged listed companies to reserve at least 40% of their director seats for women on pain of dissolution. The results speak for themselves; the ratio of women to the Boards went from 6% in 2002 to 42% in 2016. Belgium, France and Italy in the following five years chased Norway’s example and set quotas of 30-40%. If companies fail to comply, they will be subject to fines, dissolution, or banned from paying existing directors. Germany, Spain and the Netherlands have implemented more pedagogical laws and prefer the definition but without sanctions. The UK has also opted for gender equality guidelines but only as a recommendation.
The ratio of women in the board of directors rose from 10% to 22% from 2005 to 2015, unfortunately Portugal is the 7th from the end with a little more than 10% of women are in the Boards of Directors.
On the one hand the EU develop a policies to catalyse a Gender Equality, on the other hand its institutions are a major contradiction. Both the President of the European Commission, the European Council, and Parliament are Men. The European Central Bank has never had a female President and only has 10% female members in the European Central Bank Council. For this reason, it is necessary to lay down rules which oblige, for example, whether the President of the European Commission is a man, the President of the European Council is a woman and vice versa. The President of the Parliament and the Central Bank they should rotate the mandates between men and women and gender quotas in the Bank Central Council. In order for the European Union’s effort for promoting a more equality between women and men to be more effective, it will be important for them to start with their institutions. LEADERSHIP IS LEADING BY EXAMPLE.
The gender quotas definitely contribute for changing attitude and political debate on gender equality and should be extended to more sectors of society. However, quotas alone do not solve all the problems of gender inequality, as we read the Gender Equality Index report. It is necessary in schools, in the companies and in the “street” to promote the Gender Equality. But mostly it is IN HOME THAT IS EDUCATED FOR GENDER EQUALITY.
When my wife told me two months ago the possibility to work four days overseas and despite their team understood if she couldn’t go but she shared with me she would like to go. I encouraged her to go. I am aware if I was in the same situation I would not ask, but only informed. Of course in my opinion work should not be above the family and the education of the children, but if there are a good coordination the careers of each one are not impaired.
I have a daughter and I want her to live in a WORLD WHERE GENDER EQUALITY IS A REALITY. I will encourage her to have SUCCESS to achieve her dreams, not to be harmed by her sex and especially to be RESPECTED FOR BEING A WOMAN.