Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Council of Europe takes notice of rural women

On April 14, 2011, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) issued this statement regarding rural women.
[PACE] today asked European governments for specific legal, economic and social measures to improve the situation of rural women. The Assembly members stressed that unemployment, poverty and low quality or absence of basic services particularly affected rural women, as did stereotyped roles and subordinate status, the outcome of traditional attitudes.

Following the proposals of the rapporteur Carmen Quintanilla, (Spain, EPP/CD), the parliamentarians called for measures aimed specifically at improving their situation and fostering equal opportunities. They stressed the need to involve women in the framing and implementation of the policies and decisions concerning them, and to promote their greater participation in decision making.

Where improving their economic situation was concerned, it was to be ensured that women “are not discriminated against in having access to property and inheritance rights” and that wage discrimination be ended. Provision of microcredits should be facilitated, as should loans for women wishing to set up a firm whether individually or in a co-operative.

Regarding social rights, the Assembly called in particular for a comprehensive legislative framework on the status of helping spouses, enhancement of essential services to allow the reconciliation of private and working life, and the availability of medical care facilities and services linked with sexual and reproductive health.

One thing that strikes me about the statement is how similar it is in substance to the priorities articulated by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) regarding rural women. CEDAW's Article 14, which I have written about here and here, is all about rural women. It discusses this group's role in development planning, ownership of property, access to credit, marketing facilities and extension services, and the right to form co-operatives and self-help groups. In addition, Article 14 mandates that rural women have access to the full range of rights that the Convention elsewhere guarantees to all women.

All European nations are Member States to CEDAW and periodically report their activities and progress in relation to the Convention, including Article 14, to the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. You can read some of their so-called country reports here.

No comments: