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EESC: The EU must fight against and outlaw all gender - and disability-based discrimination affecting some 40 million women in Europe

 

Change, Hope and Justice

July 19th 2018

Change, Hope & Justice is EAPN’s latest handbook which aims to strengthen members’ capacity to act against poverty and Human Rights violations. It is hoped that the Handbook will inspire organisations - but also Governments, National Human Rights Institutes and Equality Bodies, & public, private and not-for-profit service providers - to include Human Rights as the basis and aim of their work, as a new lens to look at poverty.

 

Today’s job market is constantly increasing requirements on competencies across all sectors. This poses a major challenge for the 64 million women and men with low levels of education in Member States. They are more often unemployed or completely out of the labour market, compared to people with middle and high levels of education.

Women with low qualifications find it especially hard to access jobs with decent pay. Only 42 % of low qualified women are employed and almost half of these work in a precarious job. These are some of the findings from a new study on gender, skills and precarious work from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) released in May.

 

According to a 2015 Eurobarometer survey, around 12% of people in Europe consider themselves at risk of discrimination. In fact, any person in Europe could potentially fall victim to this injustice, write Birgit Van Hout from the regional representative for Europe of the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and Tena Šimonović Einwalter from Equinet.

 

The European Commission’s Recommendation on standards for equality bodies is a key step in guaranteeing that equality bodies can fulfil their potential to work independently and effectively as valuable catalysts for more equal societies. Equinet and national equality bodies call on Member States to follow the Commission’s recommendations, and on the Commission to ensure strong and effective monitoring of its Recommendation.

 

The 2017 Report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights highlights that while 2017 was a year of challenges for fundamental rights, the structures and tools in place to make sure the rights of the Charter are a reality have been functioning. Further support to the respect and promotion of fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy, including the support for a free and vibrant civil society, will remain central in 2018.

 

On 6 June, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published its Fundamental Rights Report 2018. This year the Report explores how a rights-based approach towards respect for older people is starting to happen.

 

This is the fifth annual report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe by Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The five chapters look at the key building blocks of democratic security: efficient, impartial and independent judiciaries; freedom of expression; freedom of assembly and freedom of association; democratic institutions; and inclusive societies.

 

Each year on 17 May, the international community celebrates the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). While it is a day of celebration of the vast diversity of people’s sexualities, gender identities and sex characteristics, and of the legal and social advances concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in the past two decades, it is also a day to raise awareness on existing widespread discrimination and violence in many countries. As in previous years, this article explains the importance of IDAHOT, the highlights of this day and the contribution of equality bodies to the advancement of equality and non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity to date.

 

The 2018 Rainbow Europe package, launched by ILGA-Europe on 14 May, provides real evidence that progress on LGBTI equality law and policy is slowing down in Europe.

 

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