SINN Féin South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane has welcomed the vote in favour of a report on women working in the service sector held in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 12 September in which Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson participated.
Ms Ruane said: “I am fully supportive of my colleague Martina Anderson MEP in campaigning for greater rights and entitlements for women in the service sector. Women equality must be at the forefront in any modern society in terms of employment, wage levels and opportunities.”
Speaking from the European Parliament, Ms Anderson added: “Women in the service sector are more likely to engage in part-time work due to gendered roles as family carer. They also face greater job insecurity and get paid less than men, up to 16.4% on average.
“It is extremely important that we attain a balance between work and family life for women by providing adequate and affordable care services for dependents.
“I firmly believe that we need to do away with the stereotypical notion of ‘male’ and ‘female’ jobs and women’s work should not be seen simply as an extension of the work they do at home.
“The strong gender division of labour in the service sector must be broken down to permit women to bridge the gender pay gap and it is imperative that the economic crisis and subsequent austerity measures should not be used as an excuse to ignore gender equality issues at this time.”