26/02/2010

European Gender Equality Law Review

In this fourth issue of the European Gender Equality Law Review several experts
in the field of Gender Equality highlight interesting developments at national
level.

They discuss legislative initiatives, recent case law and current policies in
the 27 Member States of the European Union and three EEA countries (Iceland,
Liechtenstein and Norway). In some countries new legislation has been adopted.

Two key articles in this issue develop the topic of the reconciliation of work,
private and family life. Maria do Rosário Palma Ramalho highlights the link
between gender equality and reconciliation issues, in particular in her
analysis of the difficulties to implement gender equality in a context where
discrimination at the workplace often occurs in relation to care
responsibilities.

She criticizes the current approach to maternity as an exception to the
principle of equal treatment between women and men, highlighting the limits of
such approach. Instead, she suggests further developing an integrated approach,
in which maternity and paternity protection go hand in hand and which
recognises that a balanced reconciliation of work and family life forms a
material condition for gender equality.

Nurhan Süral offers in her contribution an overview of the main provisions of
Turkish law in relation to pregnancy and maternity in the light of the
community acquis. In her view, the impact of EU gender equality law on Turkish
labour law is indisputable and has resulted in many legislative changes. She
also outlines the disadvantages of far-reaching sex-specific protective
measures -such as a long (partially paid, mainly unpaid) maternity leave - in
particular when employers become more reluctant to hire women. Given the
relatively low employment rate of women in Turkey, Süral stresses the necessity
of measures to increase their employment rate and to facilitate the
reconciliation of work, private and family life, not only in law but also in
practice. She considers this no easy task, in particular in the light of the
historical background of labour relations in Turkey and the reluctance of
social partners to engage in for example flexible work arrangements.

Several instances of case law and policy initiatives are explored in details
throughout the review.

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