Chapter 10: Practitioner perspective State aid prohibition as an instrument in the gender war – promoting work for women in the European Union?
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In the European Union (EU), equality between women and men is a fundamental right enshrined in Articles 8, 19 and 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Due to the supranational nature of EU law, every individual in the EU’s 28 member states is subject to it, thus making them all subject to international law. Gender equality is a precondition for durable economic growth as it contributes to jobs, fairness and growth. In 2014, following recent socioeconomic changes in the EU that negatively affected gender equality, the EU began a new push on the subject. To promote gender equality, the EU has been sponsoring female employment by investing in childcare provision and making available long-term care for sick and old family members to ease women’s burdens. This chapter will discuss how women can: (1) de jure benefit from the EU’s expanding influence on labour law, which is driving member states to align their labour market legislation to match the emerging general European framework emerging from the harmonization of national law; and (2) de facto benefit from the EU’s economic aid and incentives for the member states to adopt policies favourable to the recruitment of women, entrepreneurship funding for women and provision of public services essential for women. The purpose of this chapter is to study whether, and if so how, the prohibition of state aid as a policy instrument can be used to create employment, both directly and indirectly, for women inside the EU. Based on analysis of applicable EU sources on the use of state aid rules to promote employment aid and Social Services of General Interest in the EU, and the impact of this on important developments in national policies and law in the relevant area, some thoughts are presented on how state aid rules can be used to create more and better work for women.

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