Reports From Around The World: Europe

Reports From Around The World: Europe – Statistical Data Included

PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY: COUNCIL OF EUROPE

FOLLOW-UP ACTION TO THE UNITED NATIONS 4TH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN (BEIJING, 1995)

(Doc. 8731, 18 April 2000)

REPORT: COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN AND MEN

RAPPORTEUR: MS. YVETTE ROUDY, FRANCE, SOCIALIST GROUP

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE; fax: +33 (0)3 88 41 27 76

e-mail: pace@coe.int; website: http://stars.coe.fr

SUMMARY: “The committee considered that it was necessary to assess progress made since the conference in Beijing in 1995…The committee proposes that the Assembly ask states not to relax their efforts to recommend that measures be taken in the areas of employment, social protection and violence, as well as training and information.”

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN EUROPE

REPORT: COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN AND MEN

RAPPORTEUR: MRS. RUTH-GABY VERMOT-MANGOLD, SWITZERLAND, SOCIALIST GROUP PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY, COUNCIL OF EUROPE

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE; fax: +33 (0)3 88 41 27 76

(Doc. 8667, 15 March 2000)

e-mail: pace@coe.int; website: http://stars.coe.fr

SUMMARY: “Statistics show that every day in Europe one woman in five is a victim of violence and the committee condemns such violence as a general violation of human rights – the right to life, safety, dignity and physical and psychological well-being. It likewise condemns the growing scale of prostitution and traffic in women in Council of Europe member states, the result of international networks whose activities have made this one of the main areas of organised crime… The Committee of Ministers is urged to draw up a European programme to combat violence against women, with the aim of bringing in legislation on all forms of domestic violence and harmonising law and procedure so as to establish a proper system of European positive law.. In this connection the Assembly invites member states to ratify (if they have not yet done so) and implement the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the protocol to it.”

RAPE IN ARMED CONFLICTS

(Doc. 8668, 15 March 2000)

REPORT: COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN AND MEN

RAPPORTEUR: MRS. RODICA-MIHAELA STANOIU, ROMANIA, SOCIALIST GROUP PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY, COUNCIL OF EUROPE

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE; fax: +33 (0)3 88 41 27 76

e-mail: pace@coe.int; website: http://stars.coe.fr

SUMMARY: “Although rape has been recognized as a war crime, it continues to be systematically used as a weapon of war, as in the recent conflicts in Kosovo and Chechnya…

It is suggested that the Assembly recommend that states speedily ratify the Treaty on the Statute of the International Criminal Court of 17 July 1998 and introduce appropriate domestic legislation to give effect to its provisions. Lastly the committee hopes that governments of member states will set up – making available the necessary administrative and financial resources – programmes of training and psychological and occupational rehabilitation for female rape victims.”

EQUAL REPRESENTATION IN POLITICAL LIFE

(Doc. 8423, 26 May 2000)

REPORT: COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN AND MEN

RAPPORTEUR: MR. PAUL STAES, BELGIUM, GROUP OF THE EUROPEAN PEOPLE’S PARTY

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE; fax: +33 (0)3 88 41 27 76

PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY, COUNCIL OF EUROPE

e-mail: pace@coe.int; website: http://stars.coe.fr

SUMMARY: “The rapporteur notes that, in spite of the efforts made and initiatives taken in recent years to achieve equal representation in political life, little progress has been made in the Council of Europe member states…The report proposes in particular that the Committee of Ministers draw up a recommendaation to member states on equal representation in political life, on making the funding of political parties dependent on their implementation of parity and on the establishment of an equal education system. It is proposed that information campaigns be promoted in order to change people’s attitudes regarding the importance for true democracy of women’s participation in political life.”

SWITZERLAND: ON THE WAY TO EQUALITY

Office of Equality Between Women and Men. Federal Bureau of Statistics, Bern Section of Culture and Politics; Bern. Switzerland. // or: Swiss Embassy in your country

Internet: http://www.admin.ch/bfs/stat_ch/ber16/thema/dtfr16.htm

EQUALITY LEGISLATION

“The law on equality is since 1981 anchored in the Swiss Bill of Rights. The objective of the legislation is to implement equal rights, especially in family matters, education and the world of work. Equality is not only limited to law but is a reality in everyday life.

EDUCATION

Education is the most important means to achieve equality between Women and men and to achieve equal remuneration. The number of women in graduate education is twice that of men. However, the difference in professional education especially technical training is considerable. A similar picture emerges at universities: women primarily choose social sciences and humanities that provide fewer opportunities. While young men choose professions in technical fields and business, women choose work in the health field, sales, office work and education. The higher the pay in a given profession the smaller the participation of women.

SWITZERLAND

UNPAID AND VOLUNTEER WORK

The participation of men and women in this area is very different, though this work is essential for all societies. Nine often women take care of most of the family work and spend more than twice as much time each week on unpaid household activities, even if they have no children.

VOLUNTEER AND HONORARY ACTIVITIES

Men volunteer more frequently for honorary positions – nearly half of such volunteer jobs are devoted to sport, political and professional activities. Women more often volunteer for unpaid jobs taking care of relatives and friends.

PARTICIPATION IN THE LABOR MARKET

The participation by men is considerably higher than women: 79% men to 57% of women, 15 years or older, are in the labor market or looking for work. Among 30-39 year old women the participation is lower than in any other age group. The reason is that women in this age group temporarily retire from the labor market to take care of children. The majority outside the labor market are retired.

PART-TIME WORK

Half of the women but only 7% of men work part-time. That is part-time work is a typically female issue. Part-time work means lower social security as well as fewer opportunities for additional education/training. However, part-time work offers the opportunity to do several jobs or activities, to take care of children and honorary jobs.

PROFESSIONAL STANDING

In general women have lower professional standing than men. Men more often than women are in leading positions and self-employed. This discrepancy also exists when both women and men have the same education/training. One reason is that professional women are considered to be less flexible as they have also household obligations.

INCOME DIFFERENTIALS

The specific differences are due to differences in education and training and availability. On average the income of women is considerably lower in standardized wage scales and the differences exist in all occupations. In fact, the differences increase with greater job responsibilities. Despite equal education and professional experience women are paid less than men. According to job category women get between 9 and 17% less pay for similar jobs and as much as 26% less in higher positions. In the lower income occupations women predominate: in full-time employment women have 40% of the lowest paid jobs compared to 10% of men.

WOMEN IN THE EXECUTIVE AND POLITICS

Women are the majority of voters but concerning political representation the higher the post the fewer women. Already among candidates, women are only one third and among those elected only one quarter. The chance to be elected for a woman is one to six times worse than for a man. In a recent year women were 14.3% of the ‘Bundesrat’ (Federal Council) and 19.1% of Kanton executives. On the legislative side there are 22.5% women in the National Council and 24.1% women in the Kanton Parliaments. 45% of all elected women are in the Green party, though this party has only one third of all seats in the Kanton Parliaments.”

MATCH – MANAGEMENT TRAINING CO-OPERATION IN HUNGARY

BUDAPEST UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMIC SCIENCES, WOMEN’S STUDIES CENTRE, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES; Fovam ter 8, H-1093 Budapest, HUNGARY

Tel/Fax: (36)1-2186/6177 ext. 2171 936; e-mail: k-koncz(c)yahoo.com

“Recognizing the disadvantageous position of women in the business world and the need of female entrepreneurs the MATCH project (based on the co-operation between Indiana University School of Business and Budapest University of Economic Sciences) focused on the training of female entrepreneurs. It has devoted one of its priorities to acquisition of new skills, part of which concerns training for persons who want to become self-employed workers or to start their own business, explicitly mentioning women’s specific needs. Without financial help of USAID the programs for Roma and female entrepreneurs would have not been organized.

The MATCH project has given ten times possibilities for focusing on female entrepreneurs. Two three-day courses, three two-day courses and four one-day course/conferences were offered for women to learn general and practical knowledge on entrepreneurship. The last conference was devoted to the start of a future conference series on the requirements of the European Union towards Hungary as a candidate country. The curricula of the programs were based on a survey that had been made with female entrepreneurs about their needs and on the evaluation of every course.

NEEDS OF FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS CONCERNING PROFESSIONAL SKILLS

HUNGARY

The types of professional skills mentioned were: Legal issues // Accountancy // Financial issues // Taxation // Others //.

Skills lacking among women benefiting from our project were accounting, financing, planning and marketing. Following the concept of the program, besides the general knowledge concerning small and medium-sized companies and female entrepreneurs, the majority of the program focused on practice-oriented information such as:

* foundation and development of businesses: how to create a business // the importance of a business and financial plan // the requirements and structure of a business plan in detail // the dangers in developing a business

* marketing strategy and different types of marketing methods indispensable for the success of a business

* the taxation and social insurance system: the changes in the taxation system concerning the personal income taxation, the individual entrepreneurs and companies taxation system and the social insurance system

* the institutional aid/support: the assistance, supporting and counseling system of small businesses

* the credit possibilities for small entreprises: requirements should be fulfilled by entrepreneurs during a credit process as companies’ documentation, economic and security documentation and certificates, need of a business plan to obtain credit.

In the last two conferences, participants were invited to share their experiences. They gave account of their entrepreneurial experiences, the principle and facts of success and barriers of business and they showed how to create a business within the framework of the hard Hungarian economic circumstances. They presented through their own practice that small businesses can be successful, based on extremely hard personal efforts and family help. They focused on the concrete problems or difficulties that need to be solved in their business.

The majority of lecturers and participants emphasized the lack of cheap and easily attainable credits, unacceptably high security to cover the loan – as the most important barriers of the creation and the development of small businesses – and the problem of unhelpful bureaucracies. They pointed out the lack of protection for the enterpreneur’s interest, especially female entrepreneurs.

The recommendations of participants were important and practical. They stressed the need of a comprehensive support system for entrepreneurs and the necessity of positive discrimination towards female entrepreneurs. The necessity of creation of friendly social circumstances especially a tax system, financial regulations and extended household services. Some participants emphasized the need of effective communication skills. Everbody agreed that it is worth to do business, female entrepreneurs should be proud of themselves, they have to direct and organize their life. Some others emphasized the importance to maintain the spirit, the necessity of flexibility, liberty, honesty and openness of entrepreneurs.

These characteristics are the strong points of female entrepreneurs. They pointed out that women have to utilize their strength. Successful businesswomen should offer a positive Hungarian model for female entrepreneurs The discussion focused on the individual differences of female entrepreneurs, the necessity of empowerment of women, the importance of education and development.

ROMA PROGRAMS

The Roma people in Hungary have a high unemployment rate, in some regions it is 100%. The average educational level is low, less than 1% of Roma people have a university degree. Their living standard and housing is the worst of Hungary. This is a hard problem during the joining process to the European Union. The discrimination clause in the Constitution and in the labour laws are not enough protection for them. It is important to develop a strategy towards Roma people in different areas: employability, entrepreneurship and equal opportunities to integrate them in Hungarian society.

The MATCH project has great possibilities for programs that are aimed at Roma entrepreneurs. Roma women were a target group of the MATCH project, they took part in every program both organized for women and for Roma entrepreneurs. Blanka Kozma, President of ‘Association of Public Roma Women’ and Secretary of the Foundation ‘Entrepreneurship Instead of Unemployment’ was responsible for recruitment. It was concentrated on different channels:

(a) through advertisement in different Roma mass media, and

(b) through different Roma organizations.

HUNGARY

Participants came from everywhere in the country. The program had two parts. In the first part of the course the guests-speakers gave an overall picture about the most important knowledge indispensable for entrepreneurs. The structure of the general program was similar to the other programs offered for female entrepreneurs. In the second part participants discussed the problems of discrimination against Roma people, the possibilities and conditions of developing an ‘affirmative action’ program.

During the program the necessity of affirmative action towards minorities and women was emphasized.

The system of affirmative action is unknown in Hungary, which is an effort to develop a systematic approach to open the doors of education, employment and business development opportunities to qualified individuals who happen to be members of groups that have experiences longstanding and persistent discrimination, to provide increased possibilities for women and ethnic minorities and to overcome past patterns of discrimination. The American practice could be a good example for Hungarian decision makers how to help women and minorities.

USAID, which supported these programs, is closing down the bilateral assistance program to Hungary this summer. The question is: who will finance the training courses for women and Roma entrepreneurs with special attention and affirmative action towards them.?”

EUROPE: COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

LEGISLATION TO COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS URGED

CREW News (No. 30, Feb. 15, 2001): Rue Capouillet 25, B-1060 Brussels, BELGIUM

“At their first informal meeting of the year, EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers agreed on the need for prompt legislation and collective EU strategy to combat trafficking in human beings.

Presenting the conclusions of the meeting, Sweden’s Minister for Justice Thomas Bodstrom said a common EU strategy should contain both legislative measures and police co-operation as well as financial support for projects working to combat trafficking in women and children. Cooperation with non-EU member countries, from where trafficking often originates, should be boosted. He said EU candidate countries will be invited to discuss measures to combat trafficking at the next Justice and Home Affairs Council in March. During the informal meeting, ministers also discussed how to proceed with the harmonisation of the EU’s refugee and asylum policy.

The objective is to arrive at minimum rules concerning the protection of refugees and others in need. Ministers agreed that the EU should be open to refugees and that asylum policies should be characterised by solidarity and the full application of the Geneva Convention. For more information contact: http://eu.2001.se.”

COPYRIGHT 2001 Women’s International Network

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group