Improving local employment policies by focusing on Gender Equality

The Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) published in November 2011, together with the Spanish Institute for Women and the Center of Economic studies of Tomillo, a manual of good practices on employment policies for women from a local perspective.

The objective of the folder is to support local authorities in increasing the rate of employment and improve employability of women. It also provides recommendations for improving the functioning of the labour market, aiming to reduce existing inequalities, reaching inclusion and maintain quality employment for women. The folder also provides extensive information on local authorities’ role in elaborating employment policies to improve gender equality.

One chapter of the folder is dedicated to a study of best practices in different Spanish local authorities.

The experiences presented in the folder also provide solutions on how to actively promote the recruitment and integration of women through various activities such as:

  • Developing awareness campaigns to reduce resistance in the business sector to hire women
  • Providing grants and recruitment subsidies
  • Cooperating with enterprises to offer specialized training-programs in fields where there is a lack of knowledge, to increase chances for future recruitment
  • Through evaluating the needs of the local market, adapting carrier guidance and trainings accordingly to meet the local needs
  • Adapting training programs in sectors where women are not traditionally in majority. This will allow a broader range of training possibilities and increase the employability of women
  • Developing public-private partnerships to improve links between sectors and to establish contacts with potential employers
  • Facilitating formalities that are necessary to regularize women working erratically and in the shadow economy
  • Implementing social clauses in public procurement such as social criteria in the evaluation of the offer, to promote the integration of women on the labour market

The folder also proposes some ideas on how to overcome obstacles that can make it more difficult for women to integrate on the labour market.

The experiences presented in this folder show that existing inequalities in employment is a multicausal phenomenon that needs special measures covering different areas requiring flexibility and adaptability. Since women often take greater family responsibilities, especially when it comes to single parent households, it is important to adapt opportunities that enable women to harmonize private and professional lives.

It is also important to develop necessary aid for such families such as providing:

  • Service checks for families with low income
  • Playrooms or day-care for children
  • Employments or trainings that are more flexible with the working hours adapted to school schedules

Moreover, women from vulnerable groups for instance with low qualifications, women taking a lot of responsibility for the household work, women suffering from domestic violence, elderly women, women with disabilities, women from minorities etc. often lack of self-esteem. This is something that has to be taken into consideration when elaborating the training programs. Focus has to be put on empowerment of these groups; these women should be encouraged and recognized. In order to implement appropriate strategies, the folder recommends to:

  • Offer individual guidance and follow-up, by starting with interviews in the beginning of the training providing extensive information.
  • Offer group sessions to create a social support network where participants feel free to express themselves
  • Organize “clubs of employment” – open spaces for unemployed women to overcome the sense of isolation that can affect many unemployed people
  • Develop integrated insertion paths to combine different methods; career counselling, employment training, entrepreneurship support, job placement, personal coaching, etc.