In the run-up to International Women’s Day on 8 March, the FERPA women’s committee denounces the difficult, complicated situation that we as retired women and pensioners face. In order for this situation to change, we are calling on all of our members to attend the various meetings and demonstrations that will be taking place on International Women’s Day.
It is particularly important this year, when equality policies are under serious threat. Defending women’s rights and demanding quality employment, fair salaries, pensions that give pensioners dignity in retirement, and gender co-responsibility, must be among our objectives.
The pay gap between men and women is the result of women’s lack of integration in the workplace. In other words, employment inequality leads to pay inequality which translates as smaller pensions for women. In global terms, women’s income from workplace pensions in some EU countries is on average between 29% and 61% of what men earn, meaning that female pensioners are poorer.
We must raise awareness of the existing barriers that exclude women in these age groups from employment: discrimination due to maternity and childcare, obstacles caused by a lack of public care services for children, senior citizens and dependant persons, and business strategies that prioritise hiring men over women. Alongside the reactionary offensive of governments that knowingly harm women’s rights and autonomy and revive the culture of domesticity, we are also faced with gender stereotyping from businessmen.
The situation of retired women and pensioners receives very little visibility. We must make an effort to get to know who retired women and pensioners are, since there are differences in their age, economic status, culture and form of cohabitation. We must promote access to equal opportunities as a right and demand that governments take retired women and pensioners into account when applying economic policies that cut their essential rights.
Retired women and pensioners are the group that has suffered the highest levels of inequality in recent decades, and for many years have been the group with the lowest income. And even today they remain highly vulnerable to poverty because of their relative lack of resources and support when it is needed the most.
We need a dependency law that ends the serious issue that many retired women and pensioners in this situation, and their families, experience, as it is women who tend to be the primary caregivers.
We denounce the serious impact caused by the lack of convincing political commitment and activity on the part of the European Union’s various members state governments to eradicate gender-based violence.
It is clear that the financial, economic and social crisis is having a tremendously negative effect on the whole of society, but we must not forget that it is having a particularly serious impact on the living and employment conditions of women – specific impacts that should be taken into account when drawing up proposals to improve the situation and eradicate these problems.
Ridding our society of these situations is exactly what the FERPA women’s committee is working to achieve, and we strongly believe that if we all work together our proposals will receive greater visibility.
FERPA Women’s Committee• March 2017