Resolution on challenges ahead for women’s rights in Europe: more than 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action  
2021/2509(RSP) - 11/02/2021  

The European Parliament adopted by 505 votes to 109, with 76 abstentions, a resolution on challenges ahead for women’s rights in Europe: more than 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The text adopted in plenary had been tabled as a joint resolution by the EPP, S&D, Renew, Greens/EFA groups and The Left.

The resolution noted with concern that the fifth review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) published by EIGE in 2020 highlighted that no European Member States completed the targets set at the Beijing Convention in 1995. Parliament highlighted that the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 are disproportionately affecting women and girls, exacerbating pre-existing gender inequalities and threatening to reverse the progress made until now.  It is estimated that this pandemic will push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line at global level, bringing the total to 435 million.

The Commission and the Member States are called on to develop and implement concrete plans and a set of actions, matched with adequate earmarked funding, on the basis of the following areas:

Women and poverty

The resolution noted that gender remains a significant factor in patterns of poverty in the EU and that, although exclusion rates and gender poverty gaps vary considerably between countries, 23.3 % of women compared with 21.6 % of men are at risk of poverty. It called on the Commission to present an anti-poverty strategy to fight against the feminisation of poverty, with a special focus on single-parent households headed by women.

Women and the economy, women and power and decision making

The resolution recognised that more women are being elected and appointed into decision-making positions, but regrets that progress is slow and that parity has only been achieved in a few EU Member States.

The EU is called on to:

-  establish targets, action plans, timelines and temporary special measures to achieve gender parity and move towards a balanced representation for all executive, legislative and administrative positions;

- strengthen efforts to close the gender pay gap and enforce the equal pay principle by adopting legislation to increase pay transparency, including mandatory measures for all companies. Parliament regretted that the proposal by the Commission for binding pay transparency measures has not yet been introduced as planned.

The Commission for its part should:

- examine women’s participation in the labour market and ensure the meaningful participation of women in key decision-making bodies and in the design of gender-sensitive recovery and economic stimulus packages within the MFF and the Next Generation EU recovery plan;

- take specific measures to address the women’s employment gap via targeted distribution under the Recovery and Resilience Facility;

- strengthen policies promoting the greater participation of women in STEM careers and studies.

Women and violence: eradicating gender-based violence

The resolution called on the Commission to:

- come up with a proposal for a holistic, victim-centred EU Directive to prevent and combat all forms of gender-based violence;

- develop an EU Protocol on gender-based violence in times of crisis and to include protection services for victims, such as helplines, safe accommodation and health services as ‘essential services’ in the Member States, in order to prevent gender-based violence and support victims of domestic violence during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic;

- put forward relevant regulation and any other possible actions to eradicate hate speech and online harassment.

Women and health

Parliament called on Member States to:

- invest in robust and resilient public health systems and to ensure that the staff of healthcare services, the majority of whom are usually female and occupy lower-paid functions, are fairly compensated and have decent working conditions;

- provide comprehensive sexuality and relationship education to young people and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, including contraception, family planning and safe and legal abortion.