ETUC Women Workers Manifesto - Equality in the recovery

Women are at greater exposure to the consequences of the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic. This Recovery needs to put the achievement of equality at the centre.

 We are calling for  

1. More support for trade unions so that they can spearhead the fight for gender equality.

When women join together in their trade union they can bargain for a better deal, increased pay, more security, training, health and safety, a say over working hours, fairer promotions, more paid leave and a decent pension.

2. Equal pay throughout Europe

Without effective actions, the gender gap in the EU won’t close until 2104. We are calling for improved legislation, including the Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages and the EU Directive on Pay Transparency to guarantee pay equality including an obligation on employers to collectively bargain on measures to close the pay gap. Only strong unions can bring equal pay.

3. Pay justice for essential workers at heart of the recovery

The majority of essential workers, such as carers, cleaners and cashiers, that face COVID at the frontlines are women. The value of their work needs to be properly assessed and their true value reflected in their pay cheques. Implement measures that guarantee equal pay for work of equal value. 

4. Earmark resources for pensions

Address the past discrimination that has left older women particularly affected by the gender pay gap as it affects their pensions leaving many at risk of extreme and persistent poverty once they have reached retirement age.

5. End Stereotypes

Ringfence funding from the national recovery plans to challenge stereotypes and to increase opportunities for women in new technologies (digitalization and green transition). Put in place financial and other support for women to change careers and for girls to undertake studies in non-traditional fields.

6. End online and offline violence and harassment at work

An ETUC survey of women union leaders found that 84% of respondents think that national laws are not strong enough to tackle violence and harassment at work, including online. All Member states must urgently put in place measures so that they can ratify ILO Convention 190!

7. Stop violence against women and girls in all its forms

The COVID pandemic has triggered an undeniable spike in domestic violence against women. Zero tolerance for online and digital harassment. All countries must ratify the Istanbul Convention and the EU should also accede to it. Women and girls in all their diversity must be protected and respected.

8. Combat the backlash against Women’s rights

The growing backlash against long-fought-for women’s rights, fueled by the false narratives of the far right, must be put to a halt. Women’s safety and their sexual and reproductive health & rights are not up for debate!

9. Make Work-Life-Balance a reality

During the COVID pandemic, women are doing the lion's share of care work. We call for an ambitious transposition of the Work-Life Balance Directive, a guarantee of the right to disconnect and improved telework arrangements.

10. Develop a world class infrastructure of care

Use recovery funds to improve the care infrastructure and increase the number of affordable and high-quality childcare facilities available to working parents throughout Europe, and improve the pay and conditions of those working in childcare. Improve and increase the provision of care facilities for other categories of dependants (old, disabled, people in need), thus encouraging women‘s active participation in labour, by reconciling work and family life.