Doc. 8717
14 April 2000

Equal treatment of men and women running their own businesses or helping their spouses in family businesses

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mr. Neuwirth and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only

the members who have signed it

Growing numbers of women in Council of Europe member states are running their own businesses or helping their spouses in their work.

In the great majority of these countries the rules governing access to self-employment do not discriminate either directly or indirectly against women, but all sorts of barriers such as statutory requirements and social security schemes nevertheless prevent them from setting up their own businesses.

It is moreover observed to be much harder for women, especially in rural areas, to combine work and family responsibilities, particularly because of the lack of childcare facilities.

Women helping their spouses in their work are also in a very insecure position.

All this demonstrates that men and women in the member states do not in practice receive equal treatment in the area of self-employment or in cases where they help their spouses in family businesses.

The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

i.       aim at eliminating all forms of direct and indirect discrimination affecting women's access to self-employment;

ii.       take positive action to promote self-employment for women;

iii.       take steps to encourage the representation of women in professional organisations;

iv.        introduce special measures to allow women to combine work and personal life;

v.       take positive action to afford legal protection to persons helping their spouses in family businesses.

Signed : 1

Neuwirth, France, EDG

Connor, Ireland, EPP/CD

Cryer, United Kingdom, SOC

Dromberg, Finland, EDG

Err, Luxemburg, SOC

Etherington, United Kingdom, SOC

Jones, United Kingdom, SOC

Lakhova, Russia, NR

Lörcher, Germany, SOC

Paegle, Latvia, EPP/CD

Poptodorova, Bulgaria, SOC

Pozza Tasca, Italy, LDR

Ringstad, Norway, LDR

Taylor, United Kingdom, EPP/CD

Zapfl-Helbling, Switzerland, EPP/CD


1        SOC: Socialist Group