The State of the Union 2016

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The State of the Union 2016

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The 2016 edition of The State of the Union took place from 5 to 7 May and had a special emphasis on “Women in Europe and the World”. A detailed report is available here.

Mission Report

The State of the Union conference, organised by the European University Institute (EUI), is an annual event for high-level refl ection on the EU and the world. This year’s edition took place from 5 to 7 May in Florence. A delegation formed by the FMA President Enrique Barón Crespo and Monica Baldi, FMA Board member responsible for relations with EUI, attended this year’s event organised around the theme “Women in Europe and the World”. Our President, Enrique Barón Crespo, participated in one of the panels that brought together academics and politicians to discuss Populism in Europe and the current state of democracy in Europe.

Professor Ruth Rubio Marín was the opening keynote and delivered a stunning presentation. We publish here some extracts. “Europe is experiencing a protracted economic crisis with severe social implications’ […] ‘in this context, what is the use of a State of the Union devoted to Women?’ […] ‘reality is that today, in spite of formal equal legal status, women in Europe, who make up more than half the population,
remain an oppressed group’ […]

’Women’s oppression has fi ve faces, namely: violence, exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness and cultural imperialism.’ Violence: ’In the EU today, 1 in 3 women has experienced physical and /or sexual violence at least once since the age of 15, which makes for 59,4. millon victims […].’

Exploitation and Marginalization: ’The gender pay gap is perpetuated by the generalized practice of lack of transparency around payment by almost every employer. Even more worrisome is that the pension gap between men and women is 38 percent […]. Occupational segregation concentrates women in the less lucrative sectors.‘

Powerlessness: ’Women still account for less than a quarter of company board members of the largest publicly listed companies in the MS,despite representing almost a half of the employed workforce.’

Cultural Imperialism: ’At the root of gender injustice lies androcentrism. […] There is a long-standing hierarchical dualism between productive and reproductive work; and, as Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz has recognized, a total lack of any relationship between private rewards and social returns. Social norms, and not any clear notion of marginal productivity, determine wages.‘

Europe is at a crucial juncture. A ‘new emancipatory framework would need to continue to challenge gender stereotypes and predetermined gender roles and integrate economic, environmental and social reproduction concerns. […] this agenda would require the implementation of innovative gender equality policy approaches and tools, such as gender mainstreaming of macro-economic policy and gender budgeting.

Work/life balance policies would be sought as intrinsically good for everyone, and not just women. ‘[…] it may require the displacement of dogmatisms around unregulated global fi nancial markets, austere neoliberal states and the self-suffi ciency of human beings. It may require the rescue, […] of the individual man, and indeed the individual woman too, from different forms of tyrannies and their modern iterations.’


May 5, 2016 ,12:00 am
May 7, 2016 ,12:00 am
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EUI Florence
via dei Roccettini, 9
San Domenico di Fiesole, Florence 50014 Italy
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