The Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee urge member states to address poverty and call for a European Green Deal that will ensure a just and socially fair transition.
In a draft report, adopted by MEPs on the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee with 20 in favour, 2 against and no abstentions, MEPs call on the Commission and member states to take urgent action to address poverty and increasing inequalities among women, especially vulnerable groups. Access to energy should be considered a right, the text states, calling for member states and the EU to urgently guarantee affordable utilities and food for low-income households.
As a result of discrimination and inequality in housing, many women live in insecure, undignified and unsafe conditions, and are at increased risk of homelessness and violence, the texts states, stressing that forced evictions disproportionally impact women. The committee calls on the Commission to propose new rules to mitigate housing being treated as a commodity and to stop speculators from making housing unaffordable.
A gender perspective is lacking in the Commission’s main climate, energy and environmental initiatives, says the committee. The text calls for a European Green Deal that will ensure a just and socially fair transition that works for all by developing a gender-transformative intersectional strategy to address energy poverty. Public investment in social, affordable and energy-efficient housing must be increased, they say, taking into account the specific needs of women, who often significantly contribute towards household energy management, yet lack equal access to resources.
The energy sector is one of the most gender-imbalanced industries in the EU, with women accounting for only 24% of the labour force, say MEPs. They call on private and public energy companies to eradicate any form of discrimination and stress the need to fight against persistent structural gender inequalities that obstruct women from entering and staying in the sector.
Alice Kuhnke (Greens/EFA, Sweden), lead MEP steering this report through Parliament, said: “Energy poverty has a female face. A socially fair energy transition is a prerequisite for the success of the Green Deal and a gender-equal European Union. We need the European Commission to walk the talk and deliver on its promise to leave no one behind. That must also mean leaving no woman behind. As it stands now, the European Green Deal is unfortunately gender blind.”
The full House is set to vote on the draft report during the January 2024 plenary session.