PESWomen_group_shot(London, 31st May 2013) “Women are bearing the brunt of austerity all across Europe: they suffer more in economic terms and they are also confronted with a regression of public attitudes towards women’s rights and gender equality”, said Hungarian MEP and Party of European Socialists (PES) Women President Zita Gurmai in London. Ms Gurmai was speaking at the joint event of the Labour Movement for Europe and the Fabian Women’s Network. The aim of the event was to explore what progressive politics can do to reverse this process.

Link to pictures of the event

In her keynote speech Ms Gurmai underlined that budget restrictions mostly affected the female-dominated public sector, diminishing the prospects of a swift recovery for female employment, while also weakening and dismantling national programmes and funding opportunities promoting women’s rights and gender equality.

It is clear from the rising unemployment rates that the crisis management measures of the European right-wing governments are inefficient and might result in us failing to meet key growth targets,’ the PES Women President added, referencing the European Union 2020 strategy.

Ms Gurmai also outlined the proposals of the Party of European Socialists to improve the situation of women on the labour market. These proposals include the Youth Guarantee, which has been recently adopted at EU-level, and the draft maternity-leave directive which aims to reconcile work and family life. Ms Gurmai also called for further measurements, both at national and European level, to ensure the economic independence of women despite the current economic circumstances.

First published on the website of PES Women