Luisa Vinciguerra, Report Wome For Europe, Girne, 2011


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Luisa Vinciguerra, Report Wome For Europe, Girne, 2011

  2. 2. Luisa VinciguerraECONOMIC STABILITY AND GROWTH: MORE WOMEN IN SENIOR POSITIONS. ROLE AND PROMOTION STRATEGIES OF INNER WHEEL (in the 1° sub-theme: The position of women from past to the present in the economy).1. ECONOMY, GENDER, ...AND THE PROJECTS MISSIONThe numerous reports and documents and statistical enquiries which are frequentlyanalysed to reveal the main developments in the field of gender equality whichhave been recorded over the last few years highlight the challenges and the futuredirectional policies of the EU. Some important documents have been attached tothe current work and reference is made to them also in the bibliography. Officialdocuments, the reading of which helps in understanding the current situation on theexisting relationship between women, the economy and high ranking positions.I personally, having participated from the beginning in the Project, always feel thatthe main requirement for continuing the research and the definition of the role of theInner Wheel can and must to be faithful to its mission of the Project, beautiful in myopinion "A EUROPE FOR WOMEN, WOMEN FOR EUROPE: THE ROLE OF THE INNER WHEEL",and the achievement of the objectives connected to it.In the details of my paper, the theme, in the context of work, of economic stabilityand growth, of the positions of prestige reserved for Women, should generate a hugeinterest and greater awareness in the Inner Wheel Members of the EuropeanCountries, which have a medium high social-cultural target, are cultured and activein their professions, and have been and are also the protagonists of this season inwhich the European Union has dedicated constant attention to such problematicthemes.Certainly Economics has been one of the last, amongst the social sciences, todevelop a gender approach, so much that the marginalisation of women in thediscipline of Economics has influenced both the content and the objectives of thediscipline. Only in more recent years has growing attention been given to theproblem of access of women to retributive work, to the problems of female work, andthe European Strategy for Employment has established the objective of increasing 2
  3. 3. Luisa Vinciguerrafemale employment rate and of promoting equal opportunity (removing the existinginequalities).Between gender and economic development there exists a less simple and linear tiethan that which the policy maker and academic economists often make transpire.Giving power to women, in the sense of giving them possibilities of gaining access toprecious benefits such as culture, education or participation in political life, canaccelerate the economic growth of a Country, even if economic development doesnot eliminate inequality completely.2.ECONOMIC STABILITY AND GROWTH: MORE WOMEN IN SENIOR POSITIONS.Although women in Europe represent an increasingly high proportion of the labourmarket, they remain considerably under-represented in top management, includingin economic and social decision-making bodies.They continue to be under-represented in senior positions in many fields despite thefact that they make up nearly half of the workforce and more than half of newuniversity graduates in the EU. Today, only one out of 10 board members of thelargest companies listed on the national stock exchange of EU Member States is awoman and progress has been slow in recent years. The disparity is widest at the verytop where only 3% of such companies have a woman directing the highest decision-making body. We have to deplore that women’s talents are not being tapped totheir full potential. If Europe is to achieve its goal of becoming a dynamic andcompetitive knowledge-based economy in a globalised world then we have to makebetter use of women’s talents and skills.De facto equality between women and men is far from being a reality, also in so faras access to employment and promotion are concerned. This objective, which is amatter not only of democracy, social justice and respect for fundamental rights butalso of sound economic governance, cannot be achieved without a politicalimpetus and resolve which have so far been conspicuous by their absence.Women’s limited access to top management and decision-making posts is the resultof multiple forms of discrimination to which they are exposed throughout their lives. Inorder to redress this state of affairs, radical changes in society should be promoted, inorder to eradicate the tendency to conceive stereotyped gender roles, whichconfine women to subordinate posts and preclude them from accessing sectorswhich are erroneously considered as men’s strongholds.To achieve equal opportunities and treatment between women and men inemployment, it is not only necessary to set up and effectively implement far-reaching 3
  4. 4. Luisa Vinciguerraand comprehensive anti-discrimination policies, but also to introduce progressivemeasures to enable women to reconcile family and professionalresponsibilities without having to choose between them. In addition, positivemeasures should be envisaged to help women break through the glass ceiling whichholds them back in the area of professional competition.3.SITUATION IN VARIOUS SECTOR: A. THE CALL OF THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE B. EUROPEAN COMMISSION ADOPTED NEW STRATEGY ON GENDER EQUALITYHowever we analyze the data, it is evident that:  Too few women in the highest posts in politics  Too few women leaders in the public service  Too few women in decision-making posts in major companies  Too few women leaders in political parties and trade unionsRecently, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called on memberstates to:  take strong and resolute action to combat gender discrimination in education and employment;  introduce progressive measures to ensure reconciliation of private and working life, in particular as regards parental leave, balanced participation of women and men in family life, flexible work arrangements, leave for family reasons, protection of workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, reintegration in the work market for women who left it to take care of family members, including the obligation for the employer to retrain the person concerned, and availability of childcare for working parents;  take prompt action to encourage employers to tackle the gender salary gap, as recommended in Assembly Resolution 1715 (2010) on the wage gap between women and men;  encourage action against gender stereotypes in education, at all levels, and at work and promote training on gender equality in schools and public administration;  support the preparation and implementation of training programmes and databases geared to supporting women in their professional careers and in access to top management and decision-making posts in the public and private sectors;  encourage womens networking initiatives and exchanges of good practices in this field;  ensure that the gender dimension is included in all calls for public tender; 4
  5. 5. Luisa Vinciguerra  award Equality Labels to actors encouraging recruitment of women and establishing support programmes for women’s careers;  promote the feminisation of post titles;  set an example by adopting action plans aimed at improving the representation of women in decision-making bodies in all branches of administration, at local, regional and central levels, as well as in state-owned companies;  introduce the obligation for state-owned and large private companies to guarantee a minimum 40% of representation of women on their governing and management boards;  implement the Action Plan “Taking up the Challenge of the Achievement of de jure and de facto Gender Equality” adopted by the Ministers responsible for Equality between Women and Men at the 7th Council of Europe Ministerial Conference (Baku, 24-25 May 2010).The Assembly called on Council of Europe member states to encourage companies,firms and associations operating in the private and voluntary sectors to:  promote women success models at the different hierarchical levels and decision-making structures;  promote career plans for women;  establish far-reaching equal opportunities policies and organise annual gender-equality audits;  set up effective measures to combat sexual harassment at work;  introduce rules aimed at ensuring balanced representation of women and men in top management and decision-making bodies, guaranteeing a minimum 40% representation of women on governing and supervisory boards.The measures to ensure balanced representation of women in top managementcould be: Gender quotas, Promoting exemplarity, Enabling women to reconcilefamily and professional life, Influencing attitudes… But, it would be difficult to imposeone single method of achieving the objective of balanced representation of womenand men in economic and social decision-making bodies and top managementgiven the wide variety of situations; some countries have only just set changes inmotion, others have undertaken radical reforms or are about to achieve theobjective. 5
  6. 6. Luisa Vinciguerra B. EUROPEAN COMMISSION ADOPTED NEW STRATEGY ON GENDER EQUALITYThe European Commission adopted a five-year strategy for promoting equalitybetween women and men in Europe. The strategy aims in particular to make betteruse of womens potential, thereby contributing to the EUs overall economic andsocial goals. It translates the principles set out in the European Commissions WomensCharter (see IP/10/237) into specific measures, ranging from getting more women intocompany boardrooms to tackling gender-based violence. Meanwhile, a newEurobarometer survey shows 87% of Europeans support EU action to tackle domesticviolence. One out of four knows someone who has been a victim of such violence.The gender equality strategy adopted by the European Commission today spells out aseries of actions based around five priorities: the economy and labour market; equalpay; equality in senior positions; tackling gender violence; and promoting equalitybeyond the EU. They include:  Getting more women into the labour market and helping to reach the Europe 2020 target employment rate of 75% overall for women and men. (see IP/10/225);  Putting forward targeted initiatives to get more women into top jobs in economic decision-making;  Promoting female entrepreneurship and self employment;  Instituting an annual European Equal Pay Day to raise awareness of the fact that women continue to earn an average of nearly 18% less than men across the EU;  Working together with all Member States in combating violence against women, especially eradicating female genital mutilation in Europe and beyond.THE KEY OF SUCCESSThe key to success is a new collective awareness which would enable a strongpolitical will to firmly support a change of attitudes in both women and men.Balanced access of women to managerial and decision-making posts, including inthe socio-economic field, would be a genuine qualitative leap forward towardsachieving de facto equality between women and men in society.The member states of the Council of Europe should take forceful positive action toimprove women’s access to decision-making bodies, including economic and socialones. Introducing a legal obligation on large companies to have a minimum 40%quota of women on their governing or management boards – drawing on the 6
  7. 7. Luisa VinciguerraNorwegian model – could be an appropriate measure to ensure that we can takethis qualitative leap.The Commission will also set up a yearly top-level Gender Equality Dialogue involvingthe European Parliament, the Council presidencies, European social partners and civilsociety to assess progress in implementing the strategy.4.ROLE AND PROMOTION STRATEGIES OF INNER WHEEL: PROMOTING AWARENESS,PROMOTING EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP.The Inner Wheel can do a great deal in this context.The Inner Wheel has a ROLE.I’m convinced that the “social gried” Inner Wheel should seriously TAKE ACTION andDEVOTE ATTENTION to these issues, which concern women in their respectivecountries.In order to reach a full achievement of all the objectives included, one canundeniably assert that the path will still be a long one.The Inner Wheel Women must become more aware, and then, transmit their renewedawareness through Club or District initiatives, as a cultural service.The Inner Wheel must always be active, as a Service Club, within the European Union,next to all the other NGOs (organisations and female associations) which representthe world of Women and which can bring an extra value to the development ofprogrammes to Women, in a broad and dedicated sense.The information campaigns and sensitisation actions are some of the activities whichInner Wheel, united with other organisations committed in the sector, should promotein order to achieve the Projects objectives.Members are precious human resources. Not only are they constantly committed toservice in Developing Countries, protagonists and witnesses to the dialogue betweenNorth and South, but they can, with their associated efforts, get involved and maketheir mark in a concrete way in the social processes of the community in which theyoperate. The work of Inner Wheel is in fact also a work involving relationships, to helpto understand and promote awareness and promotion of European citizenship.AwarenessIt would be important to pose a certain number of background questions:What relations do women maintain with the EU and what are their expectations of 7
  8. 8. Luisa Vinciguerrathe EU?What role do they ascribe to the Europe, and what role would they like to see it play?The link between women and the EU is weaker than between men and the EU.Today, women do not sense what the role of the EU is, as well as its relevance to theirspecific concerns. They have little interest in it and have less knowledge of it thanmen. This would explain why women perceive the EU as distant.Towards the role of Inner Wheel, if we can we manage to break the vicious circle,women will better understand the pertinence of the EU, have a greater interest andbetter knowledge of it, and feel closer to it.The challenge is immense but feasible.First of all, in demonstrating to women that the EU efficiently contributes to combatingthe crisis.All the statistical elements reveal the fragility of women in relation to the crisis. Aboveall, this is the result of persistent inequalities in the economic sphere, the mostpertinent of which are unequal pay, inequality in employment matters, and difficultyin reconciling professional and family life.Furthermore, in listening to women when they seek a more united Europe, inside andoutside of its bordersThe surveys demonstrate that, for the most part, European women would like to see amore social European Union.If the European Union is perceived as remote and distant in their eyes, it is becausethe Union does not sufficiently communicate its policies in which European womencould feel engaged and involved.If:Women feel the EU isn’t very relevant to themWomen have less interest in the EUWomen know less about the EUWomen feel the EU is distant from themThis situation results from various factors:1. On average women have a lower level of economic security than men.2. Women are more interested in national and local rather than European politics.3. Although women perceive the EU as remote, they know the EU is important4. They expect a different European Union. Even though a majority of them supportcommunity policies, their support is lower than mens. However, they want a Europewith a substantial social agenda.Inner Wheel should discuss these issues within the Association, spread documents andnews, to ensure that: 8
  9. 9. Luisa VinciguerraWomen feel the EU is relevant to themWomen have more interest in the EUWomen know more about the EUWomen feel close to the EUIt is not, and will not be easy. However I am hopeful that there will be a concrete,positive final outcome; a positive outcome which will be determined - also in largemeasure - by the same evolution which our Association will have and how we InnerWheel Women and Citizens of Europe, will know how to commit ourselves in thatsense, both within the Association and also towards other Women beyond ourAssociation. Luisa Vinciguerra 9
  10. 10. Luisa Vinciguerra ECONOMIC STABILITY AND GROWTH: MORE WOMEN IN SENIOR POSITIONS. ROLE AND PROMOTION STRATEGIES OF INNER WHEEL BY LUISA VINCIGUERRA BIBLIOGRAPHYMORE WOMEN IN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DECISION-MAKING BODIESReport, Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, Rapporteur: Ms Gisèle GAUTIER, France, Group of theEuropean People’s PartyCOMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THEEUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONSStrategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENTActions to implement the Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015Accompanying theCOMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THEEUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONSStrategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015EUROPE FOR WOMENEUROPEAN UNIONDirectorate General for Communication Publications1049 Brussels, BELGIUM, 2009NUMEROUS INEQUALITIES EXIST TODAY FOR THE WOMEN OF THE EUROPEAN UNIONEIGE European Institute for Gender EqualityMORE WOMEN IN SENIOR POSITIONSEuropean Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal OpportunitiesUnit G, Manuscript completed in January 2010© European Union, 2010Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2010ISBN 978-92-79-14415-8Further information: - Report "More women in senior positions – key to economic stability and growth" - Database on women and men in decision-making - "A Strengthened Commitment to Equality between Women and Men" – A Womens Charter" - Eurobarometer – Gender Equality in the EU - Video News Release I-060553: Women to the top ANNI DALL’UNITÀ D’ITALIA: alla rincorsa della parità tra sorelle e fratelli d’Italia 10
  11. 11. Luisa VinciguerraRapporto Manageritalia – Gruppo Donne Manager, (17 marzo 2011)EVALUATION ON POLICY: PROMOTION OF WOMEN INNOVATORS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIPDG ENTERPRISE AND INDUSTRYEUROPEAN COMMISSIONFinal Report submitted by the E E C (GHK, Technopolis), within the framework of ENTR/04/093-FC-Lot 1, Date: 25 July2008 INNER WHEEL CURRICULUM OF LUISA VINCIGUERRALuisa Vinciguerra graduated in Pedagogy (Facoltà di Magistero of the University of Turin). From 1993 she has been member of the Inner Wheel, where she has covered, over the years, various duties including being President of the National Council of the Italian Inner Wheel in the year 2005-2006. She founded, in the year 1996, the Inner Wheel Literary Prize Europe, of which she is President. Currently she is the Responsible of International Relations in the long- term International Project (2008/2013) Women for Europe – The Role of Inner Wheel of the Luisa Bruni Naples Club (District 210), editing also the Acts of the Convention of the same name in November 2008. From 2009 Luisa Vinciguerra is a member of the Rotary Global History Fellowship She published “THE INNER WHEEL SPIRIT” in September 2010. 11