Brussels. - The extent of women's poverty in the EU, the impact of social exclusion through poverty on living and working conditions, and the impact of the crisis on female poverty is discussed by the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) during a workshop on Monday. The role of Member States and European policies and activities is analyzed as well. Recent findings emphasise the need for a holistic methodological approach and recommend gender mainstreaming of macroeconomic policy.
Upon request by the FEMM Committee, these in-depth analyses highlight different aspects of female poverty. They complement two other Workshop contributions from a research project of the European Commission and from UNICEF. Wim van Lancker and his team examine the extent of women’s poverty in the EU and the impact of social exclusion through poverty on living and working conditions of women and their children. He concludes with a discussion of policy measures that have been taken in EU Member States for enabling paid employment and ensuring adequate income protection. Diane Perrons explores the impact of the crisis on female poverty. Multiple differences exist among European Union Member States but overall poverty has increased and women are still more likely than men to live in poverty, though until 2012 the increase for men was greater than that for women.
The gender pay gap (women earn 17.5% less than men within the European Union) is contributing to female poverty. Single mothers and migrant mothers are most at risk of poverty.
Throughout the European Union countries, 19 % of women live at risk of poverty, approximately a 2 percentage point higher poverty risk compared to men. Women´s poverty rates vary greatly across EU countries, with Denmark (7%), Finland (9%), the Netherlands (11%), Czech Republic, Cyprus, Slovenia and Sweden (12%) reporting relatively low poverty rates while countries such as Romania (30%), Spain (28%), Italy (24%) and Bulgaria (23%) report high poverty rates.
Economic performance and economic policies seem to be associated with poverty. The paper recommends that macroeconomic policy be mainstreamed to identify genderspecific outcomes. Maria Stratigaki focuses on European policies and activities and the role of the European Social Fund in the fight against female poverty. She emphasises the need for developing a holistic methodological approach to face gendered poverty, going beyond tackling poverty exclusively via active labour market policies.