• Frances Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald report on COVID & Gender adopted by the European Parliament

Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP

Thursday 21st January 2021

Fitzgerald report on COVID & Gender adopted by the European Parliament

National Actions Plans for EU recovery funds must be gender proofed

A report by Frances Fitzgerald, MEP for Dublin and full Member of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee, on “The gender perspective in the COVID-19 crisis and post-crisis period” has today (Thursday) been adopted by the European Parliament by a large majority of 485 votes in favour, 86 votes against and 108 abstentions.

The report, which examines the differential impact of COVID-19 on women, men and persons of all genders, calls for key action in areas such as domestic violence, healthcare structures and operations, achieving work life balance, redistributing caring responsibilities and Europe’s role in the world, as well as measures for the recovery period.

Speaking in Dublin after the vote, MEP Fitzgerald said: “COVID has taken so much from us; our daily routines, our little moments of joy and heartbreakingly, many of our family, friends and neighbours. Yet as we re-emerge, helped by vaccines, we shouldn’t be aiming at “normal.” We should be aiming at a greener future, a more digital future, a gender equal future. That means reaching out and bringing women to the table. It’s been said that women’s rights are human rights. Similarly, women’s contribution are human contributions, lifting all people to a place where they can see a better future.”

“The silent funerals with a sad scattering of masked mourners testify that more men than women are dying from the virus. This gender differential increases with age: older men are dying from the virus in greater numbers than older women. We must examine and learn why, and do what we can to keep each other safe.”

She continued “We must learn from the last crisis and ensure that the post COVID-19 recovery funds take account of gender bias. Building and construction is a swift way to turn an economy around, but it leaves women behind, as men generally tend to do the constructing. We must put women at the front this time. As the Commission examines the national action plans for these recovery funds, we must ensure that they are inclusive of women.”

“Because when women lose paid employment, they lose just one of their jobs. They go home and go back to their second job, and their third job: caring. We know the stories over the past few months: women struggling to find time to sleep in between working, caring for family, home-schooling and housework. We must be crystal clear: working from home is not a substitute for childcare. Implementation of the Work-Life Balance Directive will be required to change this, but I believe that the EU can do more, harnessing EU funds for care infrastructure, collecting data on the situation of carers across the EU and sharing best practices. We need the European Commission to put forward a proposal for a European Care Strategy.”

“But work, home-schooling, pastimes and housework are not all that goes on behind the closed doors of families in lockdown. The truth is that children and women, particularly, are imprisoned with the violent. Member States must pivot services to help and support them, ensuring that law enforcement and the courts have their backs, but also that civil society can provide the essential services of phone lines and shelters. It can’t wait, this shadow pandemic. The EU must also move forward with its own actions to combat violence against women, ratifying the Istanbul Convention, adding violence against women to the list of Eurocrimes and putting in place a strong legal framework to tackle all forms of gender based violence. Women are dying. We must intervene.”

“Without implementation, a report is just words on paper. Today I asked the European Commission and the Council on behalf of all the Member States to examine the report carefully and to act upon its recommendations. I sincerely hope that they do so, and I will be working with my colleagues in government here to do just that” she concluded.

ENDS

Note to editors: The report is available in draft form here: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-9-2020-0229_EN.pdf

Contact:

Una Clarke: +353 85 8167678

una.clarke@europarl.europa.eu







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