Gender Equality In The European Elections
Translation by:Daniel Stächelin
From May 22 - 25 the European elections will be held, and once again the question arises: who the hell should I vote for? Cafébabel conducts part I of its party analysis: what's the situation regarding the implementaton of equal rights?
Men and women are equal before the law. Theoretically. In reality, by contrast, there are still many cases of discrimination, as well as small and large forms of injustice. Things where one has to step back for a minute and think: hold on a second. How do the parties intend to change this?
SPD: Gender mainstreaming politics as horizontal responsibility
The Social Democratic Party claims gender mainstreaming between women and men should be included under the header "European success stories"-- but it's a just story, one whose success hasn't been felt in some areas. After all, demands are still made for the "same wage and working conditions for the same work done in the same position -- for men and women!" The SPD understands the topic of gender mainstreaming politics as a "horizontal responsibility," especially given that "women have substantially been effected by the results of the economic crisis." This necessitates "mandatory European regulations," but which up until this point haven't been concretely outlined. An interesting detail: the topic female quota-- in which field the SPD sees to see itself as a pioneer-- isn't at all mentioned in the program.
Gender mainstreaming for dummies - this is how the European Commission puts feminism into the spotlight.
CDU: The struggle of forced prostitution
Even the Christian Democratic Union wants to "further strengthen gender mainstreaming for men and women in Europe." The topic doesn't seem to be that important, however, given that it rarely appears in the program, particularly in those areas regarding "the fight against human trafficking, forced prostitution, forced marriages and the organ trade." In terms of the female quota, the CDU remains just as obscured as the SPD.
Bündnis 90/The Greens: Gender mainstreaming, but not just on paper
For The Greens it's clear: discrimination must end. Similarly to the SPD, they seem to be convinced of their role as pioneers in Europe: "Through pressure coming from Brussels, the mainstreaming of gender has become codified in all the member states." On the European level, the Greens demand the budgeting of gender of the yearly EU budget (women should at the very least be able to profit from the same portions of European funds), as well as appropriate endowments for the European Institute for Gender Equality, thereby providing it with the means to establish a foundation within all political fields when addressing questions of anti-discrimination and gender mainstreaming. The policies for pay equity (equal pay for equivalent work) need to effectively be changed.
An authoritative female quota should not only be made applicable to supervisory boards, but also to councils of EU institutions such as the European Central Bank (ECB). In addition, The Greens suggest various measures for the compatibility of career and family, such as the individual's right to reasonable childcare or the passing of a maternity protection policy, as well as two weeks parternity leave in the council of ministers. Across Europe, the access to medically safe abortions and contraceptives are to be ensured. The Greens declare war against violence towards women and girls, as well as sexism, such as can be seen in sexist advertisements. They've even dedicated a longer paragraph to the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, transgender and intersexuals, and demand a comprehensive form of gender mainstreaming, and "not just one on paper."
FDP: Diversity and gender mainstreaming.
The Free Democratic Party stresses that they advocate "diversity and gender mainstreaming within and without the European Union," as well as claiming to be "against discrimination, racism and homophobia." In their program, there doesn't seem to be anything to reflect this. The FDP decidedly refuses a female quota.
The Left Union: The dream of a feminist union
The Left is entirely pro-emancipation. They demand a "Constitution for Europe" that binds the EU, among others, to "gender mainstreaming." In fact, The Left is the only party that describes itself as "feminist," and which campaigns for a "feminist union." "We want a European Union that's feminist, free of exclusionary mechanisms, free of patriarchal power structures, and that's free of exploitation and social inequality." The Left lays a particular emphasis on the employment market. After all, women work in marginalized circumstances of employment and earn 16 percent less on average than their male counterparts in the EU. The Left demands a Europe-wide minimum wage regulation, from which women, above all, would be able to benefit. In addition, The Left leads by far in regards to an authoritative female quota. Sexual self-determination is also a concern of the party, hence the Europe-wide legalization of abortion and the fight against discrimination based on sexual identity.
More slapstick from the EU Commission: this time on the topic of diversity.
The Pirate Party: Overcoming traditional roles and family models
The Pirate Party campaigns for "equal opportunity for workers in Europe, regardless of their origins or gender," as well as equal pay. A particular focus rests on family politics. Everyone, according to the party's demands, should be able to determine the way they live together on their own terms, and shouldn't become disadvantaged through family reforms. "We Pirates campaign for the overcoming of the favoritism for traditional roles, family and employment models. True freedom of choice will only exist when time off of work or part time work are the social norm, independent of gender." For The Pirate Party, this also means the legal equality of gender mainstreamed partnerships, as well as the rights thereof to start a family. Families with children should receive special financial support and be able to fall back on cost-free support and education.
All of the analyzed parties mention gender mainstreaming-- some are more apparent in their advocacy than others. At least the FDP tried to integrate the topic into their election platform. But also the SPD and CDU will have to wait their turn: other than weak wording, there isn't much in their platform-- and when it comes to a female quota, there's absolute nothing. The Pirate Party is surprisingly progressive -- postgenderism doesn't seem to be called for. The emphasis on family politics: positive. For The Left it seems that the minimum wage is in the spotlight, but the working conditions of women only seem to be one aspect of that. Regardless, the topic has been identified and measures have been thought up. They definitely score points for being willing to describe themselves as a "feminist party." The Greens deliver the most comprehensive package of measures in issues regarding gender equality. And Green frontrunner Ska Keller is the only hen in the roost of top candidates.
EUROPean elections 2014 At CAFÉBABEL BERLIN
Because Europe has not only a hip, exciting and young side, but also needs political institutions, May 25, 2014 remains a ringed date on our calendars. When, what, how and why are we voting? More information about election day, the parties and the political strucutre of the EU in general can be acquired through the magazine, and as always through Facebook and Twitter.
Translated from Europawahl-Parteiencheck: Gleichberechtigung