We are all different but have the same worth and the same rights.

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1 Programme: Women and Men, SEKO Women and Men We are all different but have the same worth and the same rights. We are all born free and have the same worth and rights. All human beings have the right, regardless of sex, ethnic background, religious conviction, sexual preferences or disability to be treated as individuals on the same terms without distinction or discrimination. This is a human right. For those of us who are active trade unionists these ideas are not only a philosophy of life, they are the cornerstone of the work of our unions in ensuring all members good and just working conditions. Equality between men and women affects the relationships between women and men. SEKO`s vision is that women and men should have the same rights, obligations and opportunities in society, in the labour market and in private life. The solution to an equal society lies in our ability to influence prejudices, attitudes and values. This is not an easy task since much of this is rooted in the cultural patterns that have been formed over many generations. Equality between men and women has for a long time been regarded as an issue for women. In debates we still consider the female and not the male identity to be the problem. It is as if equality between the sexes is a problem for women, a problem that women must solve on their own on an individual level. But it is an issue for both women and men. Swedish legislation is neutral when it comes to gender and the conditions on the labour market, education and the opportunities for an active parenthood. By the year 2000 women had overtaken men in terms of the length of education and the working experience of women today is fully comparable to that of men. Still the conditions for women on the labour market remain poorer. We can in other words state that there are no formal grounds for discriminating against women in working life but that informal discrimination occurs. This phenomenon is described as structural injustice in public debate. If we are to come to grips with structural discrimination, then both men and women must change their ways of thinking and acting. Women must be better at handing over responsibility for home and children and men must be better at taking on these responsibilities. Men must make way for women to sit in on negotiations. Equality between men and women can only be achieved through active effort. Both men and women must push for equality side by side and in every area of interest. In a society based on equality it is not only the freedom to choose that will increase for women, it will also entail a greater freedom of choice for men. SEKO`s vision of a society based on equality implies: Women and men must be able to take part on equal terms in political, social, trade union and other activities in society. Women and men must have the same right on the same conditions to full time work and the opportunity to work part time. 1

2 Programme: Women and Men, SEKO Women and men must have the same right on the same conditions to a position in decision making functions and positions in SEKO as well as in society at large. Women and men must have the same right to enjoy a real opportunity to look after the family and their children. Women and men must have the same wage for jobs of equal value. Women and men must not be subjected to sexually related violence either in working life or in society at large. In this programme we talk about women in terms of a group and men in terms of a group. We try to describe the relationship on a structural level, not an individual level. Since we focus on structures, it is necessary to use a number of generalisations. This means that some individuals will not recognise themselves in what is written here. It is however necessary to use a description of this type in order to achieve the necessary changes. We want to describe the general and the common traits, not the exceptions. It is also the case that the structure we have in SEKO as a union with many different branches and workplaces makes generalisations necessary. SEKO does not adopt a particular standpoint in this report on the question of what the root cause of inequality is. Our starting point is that there are several explanations for unfair differences and we simply state that these differences exist. Women as a group are sorted out in the process of recruitment to jobs because it is assumed that they will have children and draw parental allowance and sickness allowance to care for their children. It is more common for women to work part time than is the case for men and this is often not a case of free choice. Women still earn less than men do and the proportion of fathers who draw parental allowance has not shown any marked increase. This means that we need more efforts to achieve equality between men and women. We have chosen to keep to the areas that are close to our work as a trade union organisation and we make demands on society, on our employers and on ourselves as an organisation. Our aim is to carry through a number of concrete changes and to lay the ground for a change in attitudes that will lead to a society based on equality between men and women. Power should be shared in a just manner between men and women. This is a question of democracy and justice for SEKO. WHAT INFLUENCES OUR VIEWS? Our views are influenced by among other things traditions and prejudices. In the field of genus theory there are two explanations for the difference between the male and the female. One view is based on biological differences and has as its starting point physical and psychological differences between women and men leading to differences in behaviour. The other explanation holds that sex is primarily a question of socialisation. Almost everything we associate to women and men is learned and not something we are born with. Taken together all of this creates what we usually designate as a socially constructed sex, genus. This then becomes the determinant of everything that happens later in life, our choice of interests and the education we choose to follow. This in turn affects our possibilities in working life and our life choices. Women and men learn from an early age to do different 2

3 Programme: Women and Men, SEKO things. This explains why we chose different courses later in life. This contributes to the fact that many women still have the primary responsibility for home and children while men devote more of their time to politics, trade union work and leisure time activities. Women are discriminated as a group since they are seen as potential mothers. Employers expect women who belong to the fertile age group to have children, to stay at home and thus not count as an asset to the company in the same way as a man does and a man is not expected to display this type of behaviour. When women and men share parental leave on equal terms, then such assumptions on the part of business will no longer be valid. What is the situation today? Participation in the labour market Women have a much looser link to the labour market than men do. This means that they have a more insecure position or that they have a job which does not enable them to provide for themselves. This entails that women are much less independent and that they depend on another member of the household for their upkeep. During the nineties the conditions in working life became worse. The number of insecure forms of employment increased strongly. The group with the most insecure employment is women from other countries. With no security of employment it becomes difficult to have a secure life, to develop in work and to influence the content of work. The problem with part time work is also considerable. It is problematic to have to divide part time work into voluntary and involuntary work. Involuntary part time work means that you work less than you would like to because of the structure of the labour market. At the same time there are probably many who, for other reasons, work part time and do not experience it as a free choice. The job is too wearing. They have the main responsibility for home and children and have quite simply no way of being able to work full time. If things were different they would work full time. DIAGRAM On the whole women still have the main responsibility for home and children and for this reason they are the ones who fall back into part time work when the children are young. This has consequences for the rest of life. Women have lower incomes from their work and this in turn leads to lower pensions. The issue of part time work is therefore a question of equality between men and women to the highest degree. Parenthood Parental insurance was introduced in To begin with it was limited to 6 months but was soon extended to nine, then to twelve and finally to today s thirteen months with a guaranteed 80% of the wage. In 1995 the first month was earmarked for both parents (the so called daddy-month) and in 2001 a further month was earmarked for the father. The remaining time can be shared equally. In most cases, however, the father hands over his days to the mother. The following diagram shows how unequal the share of parental leave is between mothers and fathers. The time taken out by men in 2004, 18.7%, is somewhat higher than the two months earmarked for the father. It would appear that men take out a little more than the months earmarked for the father while women take out the remainder. 3

4 Programme: Women and Men, SEKO DIAGRAM The present form for parental insurance combined with the level of participation on the part of women leads to an unequal use of days and to structural injustices. An example of this can be seen in that parental insurance can be disadvantageous to the wage development of an employee. Since women take out the largest share of parental insurance, we can conclude that the result is negative when it comes to wage increases for women. There is nothing deterministic about this since it depends very much on how the question is handled at the local level. In order to come to grips with the problem, we propose that the number of days be increased and that the so called ceiling on payments be raised. To begin with, the insurance should be split into three parts. One third goes to the woman, one third to the man and the remaining third to be shared according to the family situation. In the longer term we want to see parental insurance shared on the basis of equality between men and women. Wages Different conditions in working life together with discrimination contribute to women having lower wages then men do. This is a central issue in equality between women and men. In the mid sixties the special women s wage clause was removed from the central agreements between the Confederation of trade unions and the Employers organisation. Today, almost forty years later, women still have lower wages than men do. Part of the difference (around 5%) can be traced to deliberate sexual discrimination, which means that a man and a woman in the same workplace do the same job but get paid differently. Roughly a quarter of the difference can be explained by the fact that women and men have different work tasks and therefore different wages. The difference between women s and men s wages is often measured in relation to men s wages. This shows what percentage of men s wages women earn. The following diagram shows that in 2004 women had 84% of the male rate. This means that if a man had 100 SEK per hour, then a woman had 84 SEK per hour. If we take into consideration that women and men have differences in education, age, trade skills and work in different sectors, then women as a whole earn 92% of the male rate. As can be seen in the following diagram, almost no change has taken place over the past ten years in this respect. Women still have a substantially lower wage than men have. Moreover it can be seen that the difference actually increased during a period in the nineties. DIAGRAM Our Task as a union The lawmakers have given us the responsibility for following up the law on discrimination and in the portal paragraph to our constitution it is stated that we shall promote equality between men and women in working life and in society at large. We have the responsibility for identifying the causes of inequality between men and women and of adopting measures to counteract these causes. 4

5 Programme: Women and Men, SEKO In order to carry out this task we need to ensure that our training courses in labour law focus on the work of promoting equality. The work of drawing up organisational programmes to promote equality in our own workplaces must be intensified. What will determine our efforts, will be the underlying factors we regard as influencing the current lack of equality. 1. In the case of prejudice, traditions and a lack of knowledge, we will require more efforts in the fields of information and education. 2. In the case of a division of jobs into jobs for women and jobs for men, we will provide information and encouragement for both women and men to make untraditional choices and to persuade women to take on union responsibilities. 3. In cases where the two-job-syndrome is the main cause, then the most important changes are in family roles and in family policy involving for example more months for parental leave for fathers in the parental insurance system and the right to shorter working hours for the parents of young children. 4. In cases where it is a question of involuntary part time work, we must work to improve legislation and collective agreements. 5. In cases where it is a question of the genus contract, we must adopt measures to achieve a change in the whole life situation of women and men in order to provide for more equal conditions in life. Instruments The law on equality between men and women is a part of our labour law and an instrument for those of us who are elected representatives. Its purpose is to promote equal rights and opportunities and to counteract discrimination on the grounds of sex in working life. The law makes clear that the employer and the union shall cooperate in the promotion of equal rights and opportunities in working life regardless of sex. The employer has the legal responsibility to take the legal steps and a string of obligations on his person to ensure that the work of promoting equality makes progress and also the obligation to set up clear goals for this work. We, as a trade union, have a responsibility to engage actively in cooperation with the employer and to ensure that each and every employee is treated equally. Competent union representatives and employees are a precondition if we are to understand, help and represent a member who for example is subjected to sexual harassment or wage discrimination. For this reason SEKO is using its resources to ensure that all elected representatives gain greater insight into these issues as early on as possible in their union work. When it comes to education, the SEKO programmes for Basic Union Skills and for Labour Law contain sections on equality between women and men. On top of this, special training programmes on equality between women and men are carried out each year for elected representatives in SEKO. The trade union clubs and districts require assistance in their work on equality between women and men. The National Trade Union arranges conferences and half-day seminars in the field of equality between women and men. 5

6 Programme: Women and Men, SEKO A successful effort in the field of equality between women and men is built on a well managed cooperation with the employers and for this reason it is vital that we also work determinedly with these questions in our corporate bodies. Society s responsibility in contributing to greater equality between women and men In our democratic society the elected political representatives of the people have the possibility to pass laws and enforce regulations that ensure the equal rights and value of every person. They have a tremendous responsibility to create instruments that guarantee these rights and values. Parental insurance is one such example. SEKO`s demands on society are: 1. To ensure that we have powerful laws against discrimination, laws that ensure the equal value, conditions and treatment of each person in the labour market. 2. That this legislation is enshrined securely in due legal procedure in labour law. 3. That the Law on Protection of Employment be changed so that full time work becomes a right and part time work a possibility. 4. That more and better efforts are made to put an end to sexually related violence. 5. That we have social statistics weighted according to sex on wages, occupational illnesses, absenteeism due to sickness and terms in employment contracts in order to reveal possible injustices between the sexes. 6. That determined efforts are made to end the sex segregated labour market. 7. That more is done to promote the use of parental insurance by fathers by increasing the number of days covered by parental insurance and by raising the so called ceiling on the top wage base for parental insurance and that the insurance is divided into three parts. One third to each of the parents and the remaining third to be used as the family thinks fit. 8. That the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman is given an active role to work together with the trade unions in ensuring that the employers follow the law on equality between women and men. The responsibility of the social partners in contributing to equality between women and men In order to achieve a more equal situation between women and men the employer must shoulder the responsibility of improving conditions in the workplace. Concrete measures are vital from both parties. SEKO and the employer both have the responsibility of taking the initiative and contributing constructive solutions to problems. 6

7 Programme: Women and Men, SEKO SEKO`s demands on the employers The employers have a large responsibility to strive after a workplace free from prejudice, based on equality between women and men, free from discrimination and from sex related violence. This calls for studies of conditions in workplaces, the setting of goals for a determined effort in the field of equality and that all this work is followed up at all levels, in the workplaces, in companies and in the employers organisations. SEKO demands 1. That employers follow the law on equality between women and men, draw up plans for work on equality and review these plans every year. The plans for equality must include an analysis of equality between women and men when it comes to working conditions and absenteeism due to illness, the goals for equality between women and men, a survey of wages, practical measures to combat sex related violence and an annual review of how the work is to be carried out in order to achieve greater equality in the workplaces. 2. That employers draw up plans for equality between women and men together with SEKO. 3. That practical measures are enforced in the workplace to provide better conditions for men to shoulder their parental responsibilities. 4. That the annual reports of the company contain information on how the work on equality between women and men has been carried out. 5. That full time work is recognised as a right and part time work as a possibility. 6. That employers allow the parents of young children to work flexible hours in order to be able to combine gainful employment with parenthood. 7. That everyone is treated equally and is given the same conditions on recruiting, wage setting, developing skills and career opportunities. 8. That workplaces are free from discrimination and sex related violence for both women and men. 9. That special low wage programmes are adopted to reduce the wage differentials between women and men. Demands on SEKO as an organisation The activities of SEKO must be permeated by a perspective on equality between women and men at every level, with a conscious use of language and an attitude that promotes a positive development of equality between women and men in our union. Elected representatives, employees and members in SEKO must cooperate to combat those attitudes and values that form a barrier to equality between women and men. In order to achieve greater equality between women and men in SEKO we shall: 1. In the planning of all activities include proposals that promote equality between women and men. 7

8 Programme: Women and Men, SEKO Act determinedly to remove attitudes and values that prevent equality between women and men. 3. Take seriously every indication of discrimination on the grounds of sex or the incidence of sexual harassment. Such incidents must be investigated and dealt with promptly. 4. Increase the understanding of equality between women and men among the members, the elected representatives and the employees of SEKO. 5. Strive after a representative share between women and men in decision making bodies as well as an equal share of women and men in working groups where possible. All nomination committees at every level in the organisation must act determinedly and put forward proposals that promote equality between women and men. 6. Ensure that methods of work in our organisation are so formed as to allow for both sexes to participate. 7. Analyse and evaluate from a perspective on equality between women and men, all plans for activities, work reports, bargaining processes, strategic surveys, programmes as well as all documents of this nature, materials related to activities together with proposals for decisions. 8. Produce suitable methods for analyses and evaluations of perspectives on equality between women and men. 9. Provide an account of the representation of women and men at every level in our organisation and adopt determined measures in cases where one sex is under represented. 10. Work for a composition of candidates based on sex that reflects the membership of the union when recruiting and holding elections. 11. Appoint a person at every level with responsibility for equality between women and men. This applies also to corporate bodies, companies and public authorities. 12. In negotiations at all times and whenever possible have representatives for both women and men at every level, in order to increase in the longer term the number of women who negotiate. 13. Strive to include in the central agreements made by SEKO, directives on the establishment of action plans to promote equality between women and men. 8

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