FR    EN

EFSI in Zagreb to discuss women's participation in the labour market

On January 30-31, the Croatian presidency of the Council of the EU held in Zagreb a High-Level Conference on gender equality, entitled “Participation of Women in the Labour Market – Benefit for the Society!”.

Gender equality has been identified as one of the Croatian Presidency’s key priorities, especially with regard to the participation of women in the labour market and the assessment of reasons for women economic inactivity.

The two-days event was organised in four panels and gathered public authorities, both national and European, researchers and academics, social partners and civil society representatives.

  • The first panel discussed broad future employment trends in a gender perspective: speakers highlighted challenges such as occupational gender segregation and the related pay gap; care services availability and affordability; precariousness and low-qualification especially in female-dominated sectors.
  • The second panel focused on women in atypical employment, which could generate unpredictable working conditions. In this context, it was also stressed that atypical work – e.g. self-employment – is often a forced choice for women, since they must combine work with family-related responsibilities. Accordingly, the panel discussed the right of atypical workers to equal treatment, including access to social protection and training.
  • The third panel focused specifically on long-term care and its impact on women employment, ahead of the related Council conclusion announced by the Croatian presidency. Overall, speakers acknowledged that informal care services are mostly provided by women and that there is a strong need to ensure access and affordability on the one hand, and quality employment on the other hand. Speakers also agreed on the need to increase public awareness as well as public funding targeting the care sector. Finally, panelists suggested to set long-term care indicators. EFSI intervened and pointed out that a broader approach including domestic services is needed in order to increase work-life balance, decrease the disproportion in the take-up of family-related duties and foster women’s employment. This would mean also extending the scope of the WLB Package to domestic services. In addition, in response to an intervention stating that "when the state allows the private sector to come in {in the domestic and care sector}, standards deteriorate", EFSI argued for a broader and more flexible approach to the sector, respecting all the different employment models and actors across EU countries.
  • Finally, the last panel focused on violence and harassment, at the workplace. In this regard the ILO Convention 190 was presented.