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Igualdad de Género frente a la crisis económica

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Las personas y entidades que suscribimos este manifiesto expresamos nuestra preocupación:

La crisis económica actual evidencia el fracaso de un modelo de crecimiento desequilibrado, a la vez que proporciona la oportunidad histórica de revertirlo. Para ello es necesaria la contribución de todas las personas, así como la planificación, utilización y distribución equitativa de todos los recursos. Sin embargo, los gobiernos y organismos internacionales están reaccionando conforme a una imagen de la sociedad que no es la de hoy en día, lo que impide afrontar correctamente la situación de emergencia global en la que nos encontramos.

En España, en contra de lo que parecen sugerir algunos titulares de prensa, la tasa de paro femenina sigue siendo mayor que la masculina. Además, las mujeres siguen siendo amplia mayoría en las categorías más precarias, tanto de empleo (temporalidad, tiempo parcial, subempleo), como de desempleo (larga duración, sin empleo anterior, sin prestación de desempleo). Sus ingresos y sus pensiones son mucho menores y en muchos casos inexistentes, a pesar de que trabajan muchas más horas en total; sus tasas de pobreza son mucho mayores. En definitiva, la situación de las mujeres es dramática, pues según la crisis se generaliza a todos los sectores son las personas peor situadas las que más la sufren.

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Ante la situación de crisis, recordamos…

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Las mujeres somos necesarias, hoy más que nunca, como trabajadoras y como ciudadanas. A diferencia de otras crisis, en las que también se presionó a las mujeres para retirarse del mercado de trabajo, hoy estamos preparadas para resistir. Hemos adquirido derechos civiles y un alto grado de formación. Hemos demostrado nuestra competencia para desempeñar todo tipo de profesiones, para dirigir bancos y países, para participar en todos los deportes y actividades. Muchas familias dependen de los salarios femeninos y, además, las mujeres desempleadas tienen mayor nivel educativo que los hombres desempleados. Por otro lado, los hombres son necesarios más que nunca para arrimar el hombro en las tareas de cuidado. Hoy, a diferencia de otras épocas, sabemos que ninguna diferencia biológica justifica la exclusión de las mujeres del empleo y del ocio, ni la de los hombres del trabajo doméstico.

No son razones económicas las de nuestra marginación; al contrario, es precisamente esa marginación la frivolidad que la economía y la sociedad no se pueden permitir. El modelo de familia ‘sustentador masculino/esposa dependiente’ se ha revelado como una trampa para las mujeres y para todas las personas. Más aún, está demostrado que en todo el mundo el acceso de las mujeres a la educación, al empleo y a los ingresos, impulsa enormemente el bienestar de las familias y el desarrollo de los países. La igualdad de género es clave para aprovechar el capital humano de las mujeres y el potencial cuidador de los hombres; para el buen funcionamiento de los mercados de trabajo y de las AAPP; para el cambio a un modelo tecnológicamente avanzado; para una mejor organización de la producción que no se base en la especialización de las mujeres en el trabajo doméstico; para combatir la superpoblación, el envejecimiento poblacional y la pobreza en todo el mundo; para el mantenimiento del medio ambiente. En definitiva, la igualdad de género es crucial para el cambio a un desarrollo mundial equilibrado y sostenible.

Las autoridades nacionales e internacionales han reiterado que la igualdad de género es una apuesta justa y económicamente rentable. En lugar de volver a los esquemas del pasado, ahora tienen más que nunca la responsabilidad de actuar en consecuencia.

Gender Equality to fight the crisis

The individuals and organisations signed below, supporting this manifesto, express our concerns

The current economic crisis evidences the failure of a model of non-sustainable economic growth, and at the same time provides an opportunity to reverse such a model. To achieve this, the contribution of all individuals is required, along with equitable planning, use, and distribution of resources. However, governments and international bodies are reacting in a way that conforms to an image of society which is no longer current, and which inhibits an appropriate response to the global emergency which we are facing.

In Europe, contrary to what some press headlines would suggest, the level of female unemployment continues to exceed that of male unemployment. Furthermore, women continue to be by far the majority in the most vulnerable categories of employment (temporary, part-time, underemployment); and unemployment (long-term, without previous employment, without unemployment benefits). Women’s incomes and pensions are much lower, and in some cases non-existent, in spite of the fact that overall women work more hours. Women’s poverty levels are much higher. In short, the situation of women is dramatic, given that as the effects of the economic crisis spread across all sectors, women are in the worst positions, and suffer its effects the most.

The media continually present statistics about the number of households in which all the economically active adults are unemployed; suggesting the idea of men as male heads of those families, with dependent women and children. This presentation masks the reality of the situation. The reality is that, in addition to men, there are as many women in all household types who wish to access employment and who are extremely well prepared to take it up.

Public services have been seriously affected by budget cuts in education, health, social services, and in the promotion of gender equality. At the same time, families are finding their economic resources increasingly reduced. All these factors specifically impact on women in two principal ways: as the majority of the population requiring assistance, and as those who struggle to make up the difference in resources now missing from the family budget.

The employment support measures are focused on the construction and car manufacturing industries, to supplement unemployment benefits to individuals affected by the downturn and to those who are already beneficiaries of unemployment allowances. However, there are no plans directed to areas of employment or unemployment among whom the most vulnerable workers are predominantly women.

In summary, resources available for situations which affect women are decreasing and where special measures are being made available, it has been to limit the impact of consequences which largely affect male employment. Although the rhetoric of combating gender-based violence continues, the resources for support services are increasingly limited, despite the likelihood of the economic crisis increasing levels of violence and also reducing the financial capacity of women to be able to escape violent situations. Equally, just as progress on crime prevention was being made, there is now a significant risk that this will be stalled.

The processes of legal reform with regard to joint /co-responsibility of care, including the extension of non-transferable paternity leave, have been stalled. At the same time, policies of leave to care at home are being given greater prominence, along with new proposals to open up new measures to encourage part-time working – predominantly affecting women.

The development of public services has not been prioritised in the current measures to tackle the crisis. However, the massive public investment, essential to creating employment and re-activating the economy, presents a unique opportunity to reconstruct social infrastructure; to create universal provision of early-years education, public childcare and public services to care for physically dependent persons; to improve health services, education, and social services; to promote sport and culture; and to improve environmental protection and stop climate change. Jobs can be created across all these sectors, and given that they are publicly funded, conditions to maximise their social utility can be demanded. A core requirement should be that all these projects promote gender equality, environmental sustainability and social cohesion, which currently they do not.

Given this situation, we reiterate

Women are necessary, now more than ever, as workers and as citizens. In contrast to other recessions, when again women were pressurised to withdraw from the labour market; now we are prepared to resist. Since then, we have acquired greater civil rights and significantly higher skills levels. We have demonstrated our proficiency in a whole range of professions, including managing banks and running countries, as well as achievement in sport and all activities. Many families depend on women’s income, and furthermore, unemployed women have higher levels of educational attainment than men. On the other hand, now more than ever, men have to join in care responsibilities. Today, unlike in previous times, we know that biological difference does not in any way excuse women from any area of work or leisure, or men from domestic tasks.

Women’s marginalisation is not due to economic reasons: on the contrary, it is this unfounded marginalisation which neither the economy nor society can afford. The “male breadwinner /dependent spouse” model has shown itself to be a trap for women and men alike. Furthermore, it has been shown across the world that women’s access to education, employment and income has been a significant factor in improving family wellbeing and economic development. Gender equality is key in making the most of women’s human capital, and of the caring capacity of men; for the effective functioning of labour markets and government budgets; for making the change to a more technologically advanced economic model; for a better organisation of production which is not based on the specialization of women in domestic work; to combat overpopulation, population ageing, and world poverty; and for environmental sustainability. Unequivocally, gender equality is crucial for a change towards a more balanced and sustainable form of global development.

International authorities have repeatedly stated that gender equality is a valid proposition for social justice, and carries economic benefits. Instead of returning to previous systems, now more than ever, these institutions have to act on their stated commitments.