I warmly welcome this event, which is in line with what the PES and PES Women want to underline with their campaign “Your Future is my Future”. Our campaign aims to address youth unemployment among women and men in the European Union, especially by introducing a European Youth Guarantee. This guarantee should ensure that every young person in Europe must be offered a job, further education or work-focused training at the latest four months after leaving education or after becoming unemployed.
PES Women fully supports this campaign and has been looking at the gender aspect. Indeed, causes of youth unemployment of women are specific. As recalled during this hearing, women are affected by gender segregation in education and in the labour market. Women are overrepresented in humanities, education and healthcare and are almost absent from sciences, as well as from technical jobs. This situation has serious consequences with regard to women’s economic independence in the long run. Why? Because the jobs in humanities, education, healthcare and the public sector are less well paid, require fewer qualifications, are more precarious and with lower chances of advancement. This trend needs to be reversed, especially when creating new jobs, such as those in the green economy.
Green jobs and the green economy therefore offer great opportunities to tackle this gender discrimination and reversing the trend. It is an opportunity to take gender equality into consideration, specifically looking into integrating women as explained during the hearing. We need to recruit women into non-traditional jobs such as construction or engineering. Should we also, look into the possibility of implementing gender quotas for these new jobs? What we really need is gender-sensitive policies and trainings, including lifelong learning for older workers, and it is also crucial to develop new skills for women.
Furthermore, the lack of balance between work and family life remains an ongoing obstacle to access to the labour market, especially for young women. Strong welfare states in cooperation with the private sector should facilitate this reconciliation by providing accessible, affordable and good quality care facilities for all. The care sector is also a potential pool of new jobs for young women and men which should be explored to a greater extent.
Stay tuned to our website and to my blog to find out more about PES Women campaigns and PES Women events coming soon, particularly on the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2012.