poverty has become a social issue in Europe. Many households are struggling to
meet the sharp rise in energy costs. A study by Eurofound from 2022 found that single mothers and single
women in particular are more likely to default on their energy bills than
single men. In the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), Members of Parliament
have now discussed the study.
Cause: Gender pay gap
often earn less than men because of their employment conditions. The lower
average income is due to a higher rate of low-wage, part-time or precarious
employment conditions. The Gender Pay Gap defines the difference in income between the
sexes in the EU. The difference is still 13 per cent across Europe. This means
that women earn on average 13 per cent less per hour than their male
colleagues. The gap is only closing very slowly despite many women's policy
measures, such as the introduction of a European minimum wage or the Measures for salary transparency.
Social inclusion of women
economic crisis across Europe, in the form of higher electricity and gas
prices, is having a negative impact on women's overall economic and social
participation, health and fundamental rights. Especially when it comes to their
own health, women often refrain from taking care of themselves. Women are also
more ashamed to apply for social benefits. In addition, many women are often
pushed into part-time employment or even unable to pursue paid employment at
all due to a lack of care options for family members, such as children and
care-giving family members. The pandemic in particular acted as a brake here
when it came to career and self-sufficiency. Many women had to reduce their
working hours and were often not able to top up again.
European Climate Social Fund
to react quickly politically, the European Commission has proposed a climate
social fund in the course of the Fit for 55 package. The European
Parliament already voted overwhelmingly in favour of
the Climate Social Fund back in the summer and it is a multi-billion
euro fund negotiated jointly by Members of Parliament David Casa (EPP/MLT) and Esther de Lange (EPP/NL). More than 70
billion euros are to be invested in energy-efficiency measures for households
and small businesses. The objective of this policy is to realise a long-term
reduction in energy demands and consumption in European households. The fund is
intended to finance specific measures to combat energy and mobility poverty in
both the short and longer term.
establishment of the Climate Social Fund aims to ensure that every European,
especially those in vulnerable situations such as women have access to
affordable energy. This can help to relieve the financial burden on women both
temporarily and in the long term.