Equal opportunities for women and men

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Equal opportunities for women and men
European Community acts
Employment & social affairs
Equality between women and men
European Commission
Directorate-General for Employment, Industrial Relations
and Social Affairs
Unit V/D.5
Manuscript completed in June 1998 A great deal of additional information on the European Union is available on the Internet.
It can be accessed through the Europa server (http://europa.eu.int).
Cataloguing data can be found at the end of this publication.
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1999
ISBN 92-827-7665-4
© European Communities, 1999
Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.
Printed in Germany
PRINTED ON WHITE CHLORINE-FREE PAPER Foreword
Equal treatment for men and women is integral to the European Community's social policy. It
is crucial both to its economic success and its social cohesion in the future.
The principle of equal treatment has developed from the isolated provision of equal pay for equal
work contained in Article 119 of the Treaty, to a fully fledged programme of equality measures.
Since the early 1970s the Commission has been a driving force, whether through its proposals
for directives, awareness-raising campaigns or funding initiatives, in putting the need for equal­
ity under the spotlight, bringing home its importance to the key players, and working in part­
nership with them to meet this need. By key players, we mean not only the Member States, but
also regional and local authorities, the two sides of industry, company managers, academia, the
media and the citizens of Europe themselves.
Significant progress has been accomplished in terms of secondary legislation: several directives
have laid the legal groundwork for radical changes in attitudes and practices. Through its case-
law, the Court of Justice has helped to clarify and extend the concept of equal opportunities,
as regards access to employment, and social security and pay. In addition, the Recommendations,
Resolutions and Communications of both Council and Commission have reinforced this focus
by providing a wealth of guidelines on good practice and setting out a framework for future
action.
With the advent of the Treaty of Maastricht, an additional procedure for adopting legislation
was introduced, in the guise of the Social Policy Agreement. Given the Commission's emphasis
on the importance of partnership to equal opportunities, it is, therefore, perhaps no accident that
the first text to be agreed by the Social Partners, and translated into European law under the
Social Policy Agreement, related to equality (in particular to parental leave). The Treaty of
Amsterdam has also reinforced the importance of equal opportunities and has opened up some
new ground (Articles 2, 3, 13 and 141). Equality between men and women will be amongst
the express objectives of the Community and now has a specific legal base.
The legal texts found in this supplement provide the backbone for Community policy on equal
opportunities. However, it takes more than just directives to promote de facto equality. Legis­
lation must not only be sound on paper — it must be effective in practice. Too often, citizens
are not aware of the rights conferred on them by Community law, or find it difficult to access
the mechanisms which enforce these rights. It is with this in mind that a major priority of the
Community's Action Programme on Equal Opportunities is to stimulate increased participation
by all relevant legal practitioners in this area, to improve procedures for enforcement of Com­
munity law, and increase the quality and quantity of information on European law and social
policies.
We know that, even with all the legislation in place, there is still much work to do and we will
continue to step up and expand our efforts in this field if the European Community is to address
the inequalities which persist. The status of women in the labour market provides a prime ex­
ample of continuing inequality: the rate of unemployment amongst women is still higher than
amongst men; women account for the majority of the long-term unemployed, they often have
low-skilled, poorly-paid and insecure jobs, and there are still gaps in pay between men and
women in all regions of the Union. In response to these challenges, in addition to its legislative programme, the Commission has
brought forward a series of multi-annual action programmes —s which set out a
framework within which to develop policy to meet specific needs, and which provide funding
and support for innovative transnational measures in the field of equality.
Real equality can only be achieved if we as a Community make equal opportunities everybody's
priority — a priority within every field of policy, and at every level of activity, whether at Eu­
ropean, national, or local level. The integration of this 'equality reflex' into every sphere of
policy at every level is known as 'mainstreaming'. The mainstreaming principle is one which
will set the tone for implementing our Fourth Programme and one which I am actively pursuing
with my colleagues in the Commission. Our aim is to ensure that equal opportunities are built
into all policies and become a common strand of Community action. This is why the Commission
services are currently reviewing all of the policies and actions of the Commission in which equal
opportunities do, or could, play a role. This work will form the basis for us to bring forward
new ideas on how to integrate women's concerns into broader areas of policy.
It is this combination of legislation, mainstreaming and practical initiatives which will support
a flourishing and competitive European Union, and will enable it to use the talents of both men
and women to their full potential. Equality is the key to building a society which values the con­
tribution of women equally with men — and which respects the needs of both to balance work
and family commitments. It promotes a culture whichs the dignity of women and men,
and which looks equally to both for leadership in decision-making.
The ultimate goal of the European Community must be that the boys and girls of the next century
will not see their futures limited by their gender — but will have the full range of opportunities
in both education and employment open to them, without hindrance or prejudice.
Pádraig Flynn
Member of the European Commission
Responsible for Employment and Social Affairs Contents
Treaty
Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaties establishing the European Communities,
signedatAmsterdam, 2October 1997, Articles2, 3, 13 and 141—OJC340, 10.11.1997 11
Council directives
Council Directive of 15 December 1997 on the burden of proof in cases of discrimination
based on sex (97/80/EC) — OJ L 14, 20.1.1998 15
Council Directive of 15 December 1997 amending and extending, to the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Directive 96/34/EC on the framework agreement
on parental leave concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC (97/75/EC) — OJ L 10,
16.1.1998 18
Council Directive of 20 December 1996 amending Directive 86/378/EEC on the imple­
mentation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women in occupational social
security schemes (96/97/EC) — OJ L 46, 17.2.1997 19
Council Directive of 3 June 1996 on the framework agreement on parental leave con­
cluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC (96/34/EC) — OJ L 145, 19.6.1996 24
Council Directive of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage im­
provements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have
recently given birth or are breastfeeding (tenth individual Directive within the meaning
of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) (92/85/EEC) — OJ L 348, 28.11.1992 .... 30
Council Directive of 11 December 1986 on the application of the principle of equal treat­
ment between men and women engaged in an activity, including agriculture, in a self-
employed capacity, and on the protection of self-employed women during pregnancy and
motherhood (86/613/EEC) — OJ L 359, 19.12.1986 38
Council Directive of 24 July 1986 on the implementation of the principle of equal treat­
ment for men and women in occupational social security schemes (86/378/EEC) — OJ
L225, 12.8.1986 41
Council Directive of 19 December 1978 on the progressive implementation of the prin­
ciple of equal treatment for men and women in matters of social security (79/7/EEC) —
OJL6, 10.1.19794
Council Directive of 9 February 1976 on the implementation of the principle of equal
treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and
promotion, and working conditions (76/207/EEC) — OJ L 39, 14.2.1976 46
Council Directive of 10 February 1975 on the approximation of the laws of the Member
States relating to the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women (75/
117/EEC) — OJ L 45, 19.2.1975 49
5 Council decision
Council Decision of 22 December 1995 on a medium-term Community action programme
on equal opportunities for men and women (1996 to 2000) (95/593/EC) — OJ L 335,
30.12.1995 53
Commission decisions
Commission Decision of 19 July 1995 amending Decision 82/43/EEC relating to the set­
ting up of an Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (95/420/
EC) — OJL249, 17.10.1995 61
Commission Decision of 9 December 1982 relating to the setting up of an Advisory Com­
mittee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (82/43/EEC) — OJ L 20, 28.1.1982 65
Council recommendations
Council Recommendation of 2 December 1996 on the balanced participation of women
and men in the decision-making process (96/694/EC) — OJ L 319, 10.12.1996 71
Counciln of 31 March 1992 on child care (92/241/EEC) — OJ L 123,
8.5.1992 76
Council Recommendation of 13 December 1984 on the promotion of positive action for
women (84/635/EEC) — OJ L 331, 19.12.1984 79
Commission recommendations
Commission Recommendation of 27 November 1991 on the protection of the dignity of
women and men at work (92/131/EEC) — OJ L 49, 24.2.1992 83
Commissionn of 24 November 1987 on vocational training for women
(87/567/EEC) — OJ L 342, 4.12.1987 90
Council resolutions
Council resolution of 4 December 1997 concerning the report on the state of women's
health in the European Community — OJ C 394, 30.12.1997 95
Council resolution of 2 December 1996 on mainstreaming equal opportunities for men
and women into the European Structural Funds — OJ C 386, 20.12.19967 Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member
States, meeting within the Council of 5 October 1995 on the image of women and men
portrayed in advertising and the media — OJ C 296, 10.11.1995 100
Council resolution of 27 March 1995 on the balanced participation of men and women
in decision-making — OJ C 168,4.7.1995 102
Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member
States meeting within the Council of 6 December 1994 on equal participation by women
in an employment-intensive economic growth strategy within the European Union — OJ
C 368, 23.12.1994 104
Council resolution of 22 June 1994 on the promotion of equal opportunities for men and
women through action by the European Structural Funds — OJ C 231, 20.8.1994 .... 108
Council resolution of 21 May 1991 on the third medium-term Community action pro­
gramme on equal opportunities for women and men (1991 to 1995) — OJ C 142,
31.5.19919
Council resolution of 29 May 1990 on the protection of the dignity of women and men
at work —OJ C 157,27.6.1990 112
Council resolution of 16 December 1988 on the reintegration and late integration of
women into working life — OJ C 333, 28.12.19884
Second Council resolution of 24 July 1986 on the promotion of equal opportunities for
women — OJ C 203, 12.8.19866
Resolution of the Council and of the Ministers for Education, meeting within the Council,
of 3 June 1985 containing an action programme on equal opportunities for girls and boys
in education — OJ C 166, 5.7.1985 118
Council resolution of 7 June 1984 on action to combat unemployment amongst women
— OJ C 161,21.6.1984 122
Council resolution of 12 July 1982 on the promotion of equal opportunities for women
— OJC 186, 21.7.19824
Council conclusions
Conclusions of the Council and the Ministers of Education meeting within the Council
of 31 May 1990 on the enhanced treatment of equality of educational opportunity for girls
and boys in the initial and in-service training of teachers — OJ C 162, 3.7.1990 129
Council conclusions of 26 May 1987 on protective legislation for women in the Member
States of the European Community — OJ C 178, 7.7.1987 130
7 Commission communications
Communication from the Commission of 17 July 1996 'A code of practice on the imple­
mentation of equal pay for work of equal value for women and men' — COM(96) 336
final 133
Communication from the Commission of 21 February 1996 'Incorporating equal oppor­
tunities for women and men into all Community policies and activities' — COM(96) 67
final 14