With EYP – the European Youth Parliament
Question from Elsa, Germany:
“My name is Elsa Lund, I’m from Frankfurt in Germany. I’m yet to enter the labour maket. Can you ensure that I’ll have the same opportunities as my male co-workers?”
Answer by Mary Collins, Policy Officer, European Women’s Lobby:
“First of all, the good news is that the law is on your side. For the last 40 years, the European Union has been putting in place directives – which are enforceable laws – in all countries to ensure that there is equality between women and men both with regards to access to the labour market and working conditions, in terms of pay, and, more recently, in terms of protection against harassment in the workplace, including sexual harassment.
“However, having said that, when you’re looking for a job, I would advise that you find out what the company policy is with regards to pay. For example, you should ask questions about what other benefits are included in your pay, not just the salary.
“You should also enquire about reconciliation policies within companies, because, as a young woman, you should be aware that you’ll be seen, potentially, as a pregnant worker in years to come and therefore, while the law does protect you, it is very important that you find out what the policy is with regards to your rights.
“You should also make sure not to sign any blank documents while you’re signing your contract, because you could actually be signing your resignation in advance. We have heard about such practices.
“In terms of promotions and of promotion opportunities, I would advise you to look at the company policy: Where are women? Are they in decision-making positions? And does that mean that those posts will also be open to you?
“Also in terms of trade unions, you should enquire whether there is a trade union and join one, because your rights can be protected through trade unions as well.
“You should know that, in Germany, there is an equality body that protects you. If you feel that you have been discriminated against in any way, you can contact them. They’re based in Berlin.
“All that remains for me to say is good luck and I wish you every success on the labour market.”
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