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We need a gender perspective while addressing youth unemployment!

As PES Women has been repeatedly saying in the frame of the joint campaign “Your Future is My Future: a European Youth Guarantee now”, we need to include a gender perspective while addressing youth unemployment.

Thanks to new figures published by the European Commission in its report “on Progress on equality between women and men in 2012”, it is now clear that PES Women is right when saying that women have been harshly hit by the crisis, especially due to the austerity measures introduced in addressing the crisis and that young women pays a particularly high price.

The report underlines that “young women are more likely than young men to be not in employment, education or training (NEET), mainly because they are more likely to be out of the labour force (or inactive).” This is illustrated by some interesting figures about young women’s unemployment, available in the European Commission’s report:

  • In 2011, the rate of people not in employment, education or training reached 17.5% among young women (15-29 years old) and 13.4% among young men in the EU-27. The NEET rate among young women is higher than 20% in 8 Member States.
  • Among the NEET group, 42.4% of young men are involved in active labour market measures, while only 32.6% of young women are. The share of young men is especially higher in training (59.5% of young beneficiaries) and start-up incentives (62.9%). Furthermore, women are underrepresented in apprenticeship schemes to facilitate school-to work transition. All in all they seem to benefit less from public support in many Member States (training programmes, apprenticeships, etc.)
  • Young men more frequently experience a successful transition path (i.e. ending with a permanent contract). In contrast, young women are more likely to be part-time and temporary workers and to start in the doubly fragile position of a temporary, part-time job.

That’s why PES Women wants to concentrate on promoting young women’s employment in order to avoid creating bigger gaps at a later stage. It is indeed essential to guarantee an equal access to the labour market for women and men and this from a young age, so specific causes of youth unemployment among women have to be tackled.

PES Women is therefore committed to tackle gender segregation in education, to develop jobs and skills for women, especially in the green economy and to push for a sound maternity leave at European level, in order to improve reconciliation between professional and private life. To this end, it is high time to advance the Maternity Leave Directive, which is blocked by some Member States at Council level, for two years already.

Thanks to PES Women campaign, the European Commission acknowledged the need for more gender-sensitive youth policies and a better consideration of the gender dimension in the Youth Guarantee, a concept which has been put forward by our family.

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