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PES Women call for the EU to address mainstream issues like gender pension gap and not just ‘women in the boardroom’


07 Mar 2011


Social Europe & Jobs

 PES Women launch pension campaign video; “It’s different for women”


Press release – Party of European Socialists (PES)

Event – International Women’s Day

7 March, 2011, Bruxelles


Speaking before the launch of the Party of European Socialists (PES) campaign, ‘It’s different for Women’, the President of PES Women, and Hungarian Member of the European Parliament, Zita Gurmai MEP stated that;“On International Women's Day, the European Union must send a signal that the lives of ordinary women are central in our concerns. On the fundamental issue of pensions, the European Commission should be leading the charge in closing the structural gaps between men and women. It is all very well to look at the gender gap in the boardroom, but outside those windows there are gender gaps that continue long into old age”.


Women are being disadvantaged for contributing to society. For reasons that are often beyond their power such as the pay-gap, taking care of children and the elderly and because of work in precarious and undervalued sectors, women are all too often in receipt of pensions barely above the minimum subsistence level. Their pension income as a proportion of men’s is difficult to calculate but could be about 66% in Italy, 60% in Britain, and 56% in France, 42% in Germany.

The OECD’s ‘Pensions at a Glance’ for 2009 and Romanian MEP Rovana Plumb’s report on female poverty provide substance to these claims.

All European societies are facing aging populations and pension systems all over Europe are being reformed. These reforms are now mostly led by conservative governments that don’t specifically take into account a gender dimension. They should, because pension issues are gendered. Women aged over 65 years are at a much higher risk of poverty than men: on average the poverty risk for women is 22% versus 16% for men.

Ms. Gurmai added that; “Investing in gender equality rather than going down the road of the Annual Growth Survey is essential. We believe in investing in childcare facilities, in the equal sharing of domestic work, in a renewed effort of tackling the pay gap, in fair parental leave and in designing equality and redistribution into pension schemes, such as generous carer credits. Some of these factors we have illustrated with the animation, but all of them majorly impact on women’s wellbeing in retirement”.

To see the PES campaign video; “It’s different for Women”, please click here.



For further information please contact Brian Synnott on +32 474 98 96 75 (

The PES brings together 33 socialist, social democratic, labour and progressive parties in the European Union and Norway, a parliamentary group in the European Parliament (184 MEPs) and in the Committee of the Regions (247 members) - plus observer and associate parties and organizations from all over Europe. ECOSY and PES Women are respectively the Youth and the Women's organizations of the PES.



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