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Woman’s Day - EU, “still too many disparities”
In view of March 8, International Woman’s Day, a set of initiatives were promoted at EU level – including conferences, seminars, political events - to highlight positive and negative aspects related to the question of gender equality in Europe and in the rest of the world. In particular, this year the Commission and the European Parliament will address the issue of equal pay for equal work, linked to the limited number of women in company boards in European countries. The Commission underlined that if men and women had equal professional responsibilities women would start earning their salary – at annual level, including the working week – no earlier that the first of March of their working year. A survey commissioned by the Executive shows that “Women in Europe still earn 16.4% less on average than men”. The Commission thus intends to “raise awareness on gender pay gap” in Europe. The figures released by the Commissions show strong differences across member States. The rate ranges from around 2% in Poland to more than 27% in Estonia. The gender pay gap also reflects the problem of balancing work and private life: many women take parental leave and have part-time jobs”. The Barroso College suggested a set of good practices to eliminate gender inequalities as relates to working hours, educational and vocational training as well as enhancing the role of women in the working environment. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, the Commission’s Vice-President, complained about the low number of women on company boards. Last year, the Commissioner had called for “credible self-regulatory measures to increase the number of women on company boards”. But according to report published by the Executive on March 5 there has been only “limited progress”. Just one in seven board members at Europe’s top firms is a woman (13.7%). “This is a slight improvement from 11.8% in 2010. However, it would still take more than 40 years to reach a significant gender balance (at least 40% of both sexes) at this rate”. The Commission launched a public consultation on possible action at EU level, “including legislative measures, to redress the gender imbalance on company boards”. The public consultation (that can be accessed by logging on web www.ec.europa.eu[>>]) will run until 28 May 2012. Following this input, the Commission will take a decision on further action later this year.
Eurobarometer: Europeans don’t give up their holidays
Despite the economic downturn, “73% of EU citizens won’t give up their holidays” in 2012 “although 33% have had to change their original plans”, by making their stay shorter. Past January Eurobarometer interviewed over 30,000 randomly selected citizens on their holiday for 2011 and their travel plans for 2012. “41% of respondents who will travel in 2012 are planning longer holidays (between 4 and 13 nights), rather than short–stay trips (27%)”, states the document issued on March 5. Preference will be given again to their own country (52%) or to another country in the EU (37%). “Preferred destinations in 2012 will be Spain (10%), Italy (7%), France (6%), Greece (4%), Austria, United Kingdom and Germany (3%)”. 72% of Europeans travelled for holidays at least once in 2011. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "Our continent’s cultural and natural richness, and long-standing traditions of hospitality, are still close to the hearts of Europeans”. The European Tourism sector “has performed well, and it even grew in 2011. Our data underline that the sector will further improve in 2012. This confirms that travel and tourism are powerful economic drivers for the European recovery”. The Eurobarometer survey shows that “the majority of EU-residents are confident travellers, who prefer arranging their holidays by themselves” (53% of Europeans booked their holidays via internet). Furthermore, Europeans still rely on recommendations from family and friends about where to go”. According to Eurobarometer "word of mouth" was relevant to 52% of EU travellers”. Travelling is done mostly by car and motorbike while nights are spent mostly in hotels or rented accommodation.