“Women have been invisible, terribly invisible in the aftermath of this crisis.” The impact of the economic crisis on women has been assessed less than for men, therefore leaving them out of many recovery plans, said Mary Collins, who is with the European Women’s Lobby: “A lot of the attention in the early days was given to men, and particularly to the economic sectors where men are concentrated, like the construction industry, manufactering and also the banking industry, because that’s where most men are concentrated.”
The social consequences of the global downturn have been under debate in the Council of Europe, the Strasbourg-based 47-nation human rights defence body.
Socialist Maria de Belem Roseira has urged that the crisis be seized as an opportunity to entwine social progress with economic development: “It’s evident that we consider the market economy important, but this means a market economy that is socially regulated, and which pays attention to sustainable development. We can’t live with an economy that preys on people and natural resources.”
The crisis has been bad for immigrants also. Here, unemployment has been double the national averages, according to the conclusions of a report by the Council’s Pedro Agramunt. He urged greater members to make greater efforts against discrimination: “We have to be patient and try to understand that the solution for this is not to throw everybody out. On the contrary, no one must be excluded. We have to accept this. I insist that behaviours be changed in the future. I remember 30 or 40 years ago the emigration from Spain to other European countries like Switzerland or France, when workers would leave with a firm contract in their pockets. That’s what has to happen today. We have to defend this idea. We need to work together with the immigrants’ countries of origin in Africa, Asia and America and the destination countries.”