Gender equality plan
The Gender equality plan was approved at the ETUC Congress in Prague in the Czech Republic on 26-29 May 2003.
The previous Gender equality plan, which was approved at the Helsinki Congress in 1999, included a provision for the monitoring and evaluation of its implementation. A mid-term assessment was submitted to the Executive Committee of December 2001, and a study entitled "Women in Trade Unions: Making a Difference" was carried out in 2002 by a group of researchers at the UCL.
A conference attended by eighty women from national confederations and European Industry Federations considered the results of the evaluation and discussed a new equality Plan. This plan, like its predecessor, focuses on three objectives. This time, however, measures have been identified which should help to realise each objective. Why these measures were chosen, based on the research, is set out in the appendix together with a more detailed explanation of the measures concerned.
Again like its predecessor, this new plan takes a dual approach, tackling specific gender equality issues as well as gender mainstreaming calling for the inclusion of the gender dimension in other policies.
The plan refers to the concept of a representation gap, which is the difference between the proportion of women in the decision-making bodies of the organisation compared with the proportion of women in the overall membership rate. However, this should not prevent national confederations or European Industrial Federations, particularly those with a predominantly male membership, from setting quantified objectives which are higher than those which respect proportionality.
Three main objectives
The three objectives are addressed to all national confederations and industry federations and to the ETUC itself. As gender equality policies have a more recent history in most European Industry Federations  than in national confederations, some of the measures suggested under Objective 3 are more particularly addressed to them. This section also includes measures affecting the ETUC directly.
Finally, the plan includes follow-up and evaluation measures as well as sanctions.
Objective 1 – to eliminate the female representation gap in decision-making bodies
As a first step, to reduce by half the representation gap in decision-making bodies
By considering the following measures:
An equality plan with
a) quantified objectives
b) a timetable
c) a clear indication of the need for follow-up and evaluation.
Keeping statistics regarding membership of and representation on bodies including European Works Councils, the Executive Committee, Congress, numbers of women negotiators, etc. .
These statistics will be submitted to the ETUC every two years so that a report can be drawn up for the Executive Committee. This will make it possible to extend the evaluation and follow-up of implementation of the Equality Plan
Adapting the ways in which meetings are held and changing the trade union culture in order to make it easier for women to attend meetings and to take the floor.
Objective 2 – to extend the gender mainstreaming
Firstly, by including the gender dimension in collective bargaining and/or collective bargaining guidelines.
By considering the following measures:
training in equality issues (and in gender mainstreaming) for negotiators
preparing negotiations and/or negotiating guidelines in cooperation with equality officers
follow-up and evaluation of this will be included in the ETUI and ETUC annual reports and discussed in the ETUC Executive Committee.
Secondly, by putting gender equality at the heart of a new social welfare architecture.
a)must exert pressure to include this aspect in the European coordination of social protection.
b)will campaign for adequate income during parental leave
Thirdly, by continuing to develop mechanisms to encourage gender mainstreaming, using tools such as sex segregated statistics, studies and checklists.
Objective 3 – to strengthen the role of the body responsible for gender equality policy
by considering the following measures:
the body  should be responsible for drafting a gender equality policy, using the dual approach, and will ensure their follow-up and evaluation. Adequate human and financial resources must be made available.
Its composition (which may be either exclusively made up of women or include both women and men, and which may be exclusively responsible for monitoring gender equality or may also have a remit to consider the needs of other groups experiencing discrimination) may vary according to the history and choice of the National Confederations and European Industry Federations
to strengthen links in European Industry Federations between gender equality bodies and the Brussels Secretariats of these organisations as well as the ETUC Women’s committee
to take account of the specific aspects of the situation of women who experience multiple discrimination, such as immigrant women, disabled women, young women, elderly women or lesbians.
The ETUC should
set up and run equality networks, made up of male and female members of European Works Councils, in cooperation with the European Industry Federations;
organize training on gender equality policies in cooperation with the European Trade Union College, especially with ETUC members in the accession countries.
Follow-up, evaluation and sanctions
A mid-term report on the implementation of the plan will be submitted to the ETUC Executive Committee and there will be an evaluation at the next ETUC Congress.
If, after evaluation, it appears that national confederations and/or European Industry Federations have not taken efficient measures to increase the numbers of women in their decision making bodies, a list of the bad students will be published and circulated at the next ETUC Congress. Furthermore, a reduction in the numbers of votes at Congress for eligible members may also be foreseen.
Objective 1 – to eliminate the female representation gap for women in decision-making bodies at every level
Alongside the progress that has been made, the study highlighted a persistent gap in rates of representation. Although most confederations have adopted quantified targets, few are carrying out monitoring and evaluation.
Examples of how meetings are conducted may be adapted include:
changing the timing of meetings to fit in with the family responsibilities of women and men;
revising our ways of communicating/ensuring, for example, that everyone’s views are heard;
making childcare facilities available during meetings held outside working hours by means to be negotiated within the organisations.
Furthermore, trade union experience may be regarded as the result of professional activities or trade union involvement, or a combination of both. In both cases, such experience should be recognized, which could presuppose mentoring programmes, preparing women for positions of responsibility including at European level, promoting advisors to policy positions, or introducing genuine systems for the recognition of skills acquired through trade union experience.
Objective 2 – to extend gender mainstreaming
The content of collective bargaining may reflect specific subjects, such as the reduction of wage gaps, as well as subjects which affect all workers (both men and women). This means therefore that the general demands put forward, should be adapted to cover the situation for both male and female workers in the company, sector, at national/European level.
Two examples of claims:
new approaches to work organisation and working hours for women and men, abandoning the dominant model of the male breadwinner, who is always assumed to be available to the company because he has no other family responsibilities;
access to vocational training. Mentoring schemes may also be needed to encourage women to take part in company training, particularly in the area of new technologies.
Once again, the importance of these factors was highlighted by the study. Furthermore, adaptability is one of the pillars of the European Employment Strategy.
As for the new architecture of the welfare state, promoting quality jobs for women goes hand in hand with a better work/life balance, particularly the time devoted to work and personal life.
This improved coordination can be achieved, firstly, by recognising the role of the State in financing and providing a framework for care services for adult dependents and children and in guaranteeing replacement income and the preservation of social security rights during parental leave and, secondly, by new approaches to work organisation and working hours.
Today, Member States are obliged by the European Employment Strategy to seek ways to reconcile work and family life. The Barcelona Council set a target for the provision of childcare facilities. We need to move these measures out of the conceptual framework of "reconciling work and family life" and oblige Member States to consider this question as part of the reforms to the welfare state, just as there is now a debate and a fresh impetus to improve the quality, viability and accessibility of pension schemes via the open method of coordination of the social welfare system. In this way States would be obliged to take a stand on funding parental leave and care services for dependent adults and childcare, and on the organisation of these services.
Finally, the study shows that about a third of confederations are trying to mainstream gender equality in all trade union policies.
"A third of confederations also take account of the impact of their policies on the respective situations of women and men when defining, implementing, monitoring and evaluating their actions and policies. This process generally relies on statistics, training, publications, research and studies. Although the implementation of the process involves everyone and is not the responsibility of a single individual or body, the appointment of a person responsible for gender mainstreaming may be an advantage (though few confederations do so at present)."
Objective 3 – to strengthen the role of bodies responsible for drafting gender equality policies
Whether or not to include the situation of women experiencing other kinds of discrimination when developing gender equality policies was considered at length during the Conference. Depending on the different national contexts and organisational structures, nothing should prevent confederations from holding meetings for example for immigrant women, to encourage them to express their views.
 This may vary according to the situation in Member-states and ETUC member organisations
 The name varies according to the ETUC member-organisations (women’s committee, equality, equal opportunities, etc...)
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