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Equinet - EHRC Roundtable on ’The Parenthood Penalty?’

April 21st 2016

Work-life balance, pregnancy and parenthood related discrimination: equality bodies and MEPs contributing to new EU and national initiatives

On 20th April, Equinet and the Equality and Human Rights Commission co-organised a roundtable event at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was hosted by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). It addressed the issues of work-life balance, pregnancy and parenthood related discrimination at national and EU levels. It gathered Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), representatives of national equality bodies and other stakeholders.

Background information

Equinet

Equinet has worked extensively on the situation of women in the labour market. It focused in particular on Work Life Balance, including by:

  1. hosting a Seminar on Work Life Balance and Pregnancy and Parenthood Related Discrimination in 2015,
  2. publishing a Perspective on Equality Bodies Promoting a Better Work Life Balance for All in 2013,
  3. focusing on work-life balance and pregnancy-related discrimination in the Perspective The Persistence of Discrimination, Harassment and Inequality for Women.


Equality and Human Rights Commission

EHRC #worksforme campaign logo  (Click to enlarge picture) In parallel, the launch of the campaign #Worksforme by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC - UK) illustrates the great need for equality bodies to take action in this area. In particular, the findings of the research “Pregnancy and Maternity Related Discrimination and Disadvantage” suggests more than three quarters of pregnant women and new mothers, the equivalent of 390,000 women, experience negative and potentially discriminatory treatment at work each year.

Contributing to the European equality agenda

This rich evidence-base from the work of Equinet and equality bodies could valuably inform the work of EU institutions and partners, following the withdrawal of the Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 92/85/EEC (so-called new Maternity Directive) and the publication of the European Commission’s Roadmap for the initiative “New start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families” and a correlated public consultation on work-life balance.

In this context, Equinet and the EHRC co-organised a roundtable event at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday 20th April.


Selection of photographs from the event  (Click to enlarge picture)

Objectives

The roundtable event aimed to:

  • Exchange on current priorities of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and equality bodies on the issues of work life balance and pregnancy and parenthood related discrimination
  • Enhance the understanding of members of the European Parliament on the work of equality bodies.

Roundtable: The Parenthood Penalty?

OPENING SESSION

  • MEP Clare Moody (S&D, UK)
  • Evelyn Collins, Equinet Chair and Chief Executive, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
  • Caroline Waters, Interim Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission (Great Britain)

PRESENTATION OF PROJECT #WORKSFORME

Quinn Roache, Project Manager, Equality and Human Rights Commission (Great Britain) - Pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace

SPEAKERS DURING ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION

Members of the European Parliament:

  • MEP Marie Arena (S&D, Belgium)
  • MEP Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz (EPP, Poland) - Presentation
  • MEP Jean Lambert (Greens, UK)
  • MEP Clare Moody (S&D, UK)
  • MEP João Pimenta Lopes (GUE/NGL, Portugal)

Representatives of national equality bodies:

  • Evelyn Collins, Equinet Chair and Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
  • Theresa Hammer, Moderator of Equinet Working Group on Gender Equality and Lawyer, Ombud for Equal Treatment, Austria
  • Liesbet Stevens, Deputy Director, Institute for the Equality of Women and Men (Belgium)
  • Caroline Waters, Deputy Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Great Britain
  • Katarzyna Wilkołaska-Żuromska, Commissioner for Human Rights, Poland

Agenda

The agenda of the event is available here:




Summary

The summary of the event is available here:


Photos

European Parliament Roundtable on ’The Parenthood Penalty?’ - Brussels, April 2016