WIDE News N°12/2004
December 2004
1. Promoting gender equality on the roadmap of EU enlargement
2. Do feminisms have the answers to poverty, inequality and
3. Update on the Doha Development Agenda
4. GATS : EU working on revised requests
5. Stop Bolkestein
6. New WIDE Chariperson elected
7. Resources and research
8. Upcoming events
9. Call for proposals
10. Web-tips
Promoting gender equality on the
roadmap of EU enlargement
Paule Augustin
NGO representatives, government officials and
parliamentarians from the EU new member
states, candidate countries and neighbouring EU
countries attended WIDE’s public hearing ‘The
enlarged EU and its agenda for a ‘wider
Europe’: What considerations for gender
equality?’ at the European Parliament in
Brussels on 2 December. Elisabeth Schroedter,
MEP Group of the Greens/ Free Alliance Europe,
chaired the hearing and Bettina Musiolek, Cocoordinator of Eastern Europe-Clean Clothes
Campaign, facilitated it. Ms. Fay Devonic, Head of
Unit for Gender Equality represented DG
Employment and Social Affairs, and Katja
Tuominen, Task manager for social policy and
employment issues in the candidate countries,
Romania Team, attended on behalf of DG
Enlargement. Participants discussed the
implication of EU enlargement in face of achieving
gender equity, and the difficult task in
harmonising EU polices with legislative action at
country level.
With four working groups
established, participants were given an
opportunity to assess the ongoing initiatives and
strategies of each region and to put forth
recommendations for the EU institutions and
national governments to improve their plans of
action in terms of gender issues.
On behalf of the CEE region, Anita Seibert
presented some of the common characteristics of
the region in face of obtaining gender equality. It
was highlighted that this region shares a joint
history giving affect to its social and political
condition and most of all how gender issues are
perceived in the these countries. One of the main
challenges encountered by the CEE region is the
transition to a market economy as the national
governments attempt to achieve gender equity.
For many in the CEE region, accession to the EU
has been accompanied by an onslaught of
cutbacks on social services and a weakened
sense of economic security that has exacerbated
women’s position in this transitional phase.
Although the process in acceding to the EU is
received as a step forward for some, many others
see the move as a step back in fostering gender
equality. At the end of the CEE working group it
was suggested that the EU institutions should
effectively monitor the implementation of gender
policies and that national governments should not
only focus on economic policy but also on social
Plamenka Markova of the Bulgarian Gender
Research Foundation gave an insightful account
of the challenges experienced in the South
Eastern Europe region. As the countries abandon
the vestiges of a socialist system these counties
attempt to meet the standards of EU accession
that are compounded by the pressures of trade
liberalisation and related structural adjustment
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Ne ew ws s N
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December 2004

WIDE newsletter = WIDE news [2004], 12 (Dec) - 1/9