Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Impact of the economic crisis on gender equality and women's rights

Delivered in Plenary - 12th March 2013

Madam President

There are few in this Chamber who do not support the concept of gender equality and increased representation for women, and there is also broad agreement that the economic crisis has indeed created economic hardship for women in some parts of the EU. However, this report not only offers a monolithic solution to an intricate web of complex problems but also aims to impose its own set of political values on an area in which the Union has little or no competence.

Women are indeed suffering, but EU-harmonised maternity and paternity leave, increased government spending and enforced quotas are not the answer. As is so often the case with these difficult social problems, well-meaning politicians in the EU seek to administer the blunt instrument of ‘more Europe’, when in reality what is required is a far subtler approach, respecting the needs of women as well as the sovereignty and competence of Member State governments seeking to resolve this problem.