AuthorSansonetti, Silvia; Davern, Eamonn
Study Report on PES approaches to the promotion of gender equality
A number of PES report practices to address areas of labour market gender discrimination,
describing these initiatives as effective. However, limited information was supp lied on the
targets, success criteria/profiles for programmes described, or results achieved. The
initiatives relate t o the following aspects of g ender discrimination: gender stereotyping,
supporting work life balance, supporting women in vulnerable positions to overcome labour
market discrimination includi ng from recruitment practices stigmatising women from
disadvantaged groups, structural youth unemployed compounded by gender
discrimination, women returners to work, and gender mainstreaming policies. Further
investigation of these promising practices can identify the potential fo r application more
widely, inclu ding across the EU, with possible adaptation to meet t he requirements and
situation in various member states. Though most PES report at least one or in some cases
several objectives to, at least partly, consider the advocacy of inclusion through, promoting
themes such as: women’s employability, standard working contracts, the employment of
women in non-traditional occupation s, women’s career pathways/addr essing pay gaps,
supporting work life balance, and particularly assisting women from vulnerable groups,
almost all PES can do m ore to further these agenda . PES are crucial agents in this regard
and this study has identified particular areas where they have scope to positively intervene.
PES can play an active role in combatting gender stereotyping through active engagement
with employers and workers’ organisations. This can take place at enterprise level and
through employer associations and workers’ organisations discussions within the usual
framework for social dialogue. This can promote the recruitment of women in sectors where
they are under-repr esented including through drawing the attention of enterprises to the
advantages in seeking t o attract workers from the widest pos sible talent pool. Particular
efforts should al so be made to emphasise the possibilities for women in seeking to enter
sectors where they are currently under-represented, especially in the more rewarding and
well remunerated jobs.
Similarly, PES can engage with both employers and workers representatives within
enterprises to promote and explain the advantages for both business and employees, which
can ensue from the promotion of work life balance policies. Advice in the form of Tool Kits
and other guidance for employers and workers’ representatives at firm level, particularly
addressing issues faced by SMEs, can assist in promoting this agenda.
Women from vulnerable groups can face considerable labour market disadvantage due to
barriers to both their social and labour market integration from their precarious situations.
PES are well placed to identify these barriers and intervene to combat and r emove them,
including through combined interventions with other agencies. Their engagement,
interacting with workers’ representatives at firm level or at a higher level with trade unions
could actively challenge negative employer stereotypes i f adopted as a priority for their
employer liaison activities.
Problems experienced by women returning to the labour market were identified a s the
issue most frequently monitored by PES. The PES can off er specific dedicated counselling
to assist women in overcoming and removing barriers, including those experienced b y
returners. This should include identification of training and skills development programmes
suited to women’s’ needs and identification of, and access to, funding to facilitate positive
Ultimately, PES success in addressing gender discrimination requires their active promotion
of gender mainstreaming. This needs endorsement from the most senior levels within PES
to ensure equality both within t heir organisations through internal HR policies, and in all
aspects of job matching, counselling, and employer engag ement within the overall
framework of open and effective social dialogue involving workers’ and employers’

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