In this fourth issue of the European Gender Equality Law Review several experts via their individual contributions, the independent experts of the European Network of Legal 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.