HesaMag 12 - Women at work

Equality for men and women in the workplace has been one of the longest standing aims of European social policy. Forty years after the adoption of the first Directive, and in spite of numerous initiatives by the European Union, there is still a long way to go to achieve full gender equality in the workplace.

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Editorial: Social action is needed to improve occupational health

Occupational health is currently under serious pressure from the wider context of the Community policy pompously entitled "Better Regulation". According to this policy, any legislation that protects the health of workers and the general public or the environment comes at too high a cost for business. The solution is therefore seemingly to reduce... Find out more

Pesticides in Europe: a daily silent Bhopal

The code of silence is starting to break. In the agricultural world, despite firmly rooted taboos, social action is increasingly being taken on behalf of victims of pesticides. This social action has changed the game as regards the recognition of occupational diseases in France. In 2012 Parkinson’s disease was added to the list of occupational... Find out more

"Putting on gender glasses" to understand working conditions

If occupational health is ignored, equality policies will always be ineffective.The opposite is also true: the fight for occupational health must focus on ensuring access for both men and women to all jobs under conditions compatible with their lifelong health. Equality is not being achieved if you look at the data from European surveys on working... Find out more

Emmanuelle Walter

Karen Messing, the woman who could walk through walls

Born in 1943, this American-Canadian researcher specialising in women’s occupational health has transformed the attitudes of European researchers and trade unionists to gender issues. Her influence can be felt in France’s “Law on real equality between women and men” of August 2014. It is no accident that Karen Messing lives in Montreal, a city that... Find out more

Florence Chappert

The "gender-based approach" to support prevention: the French example

Since 2008 the network of the French National Agency for Improved Working Conditions (Anact) has been developing a model for analysing health and career inequalities between men and women. This model inspired the adoption in August 2014 of the “Act on real equality between men and women”. Companies with over 50 employees must now produce gender... Find out more

Berta Chulvi

Women helped by women

Standing with the female employees trying to get their occupational diseases recognised are female trade union officials striving to convince their organisations of the need for a gender-based approach to risk prevention. These employees can also count on female doctors who know how to listen to them. This may be the expression of what feminism... Find out more

Hans Olof Wiklund

Sweden: labour inspection crusade against exclusion of women from the labour market

In 2011, the Swedish Government asked the Swedish Work Environment Authority to develop specific initiatives aimed at preventing women from being excluded from working life due to work-related problems. As part of this task, the Work Environment Authority inspected almost 60 municipal authorities and compared the work environment conditions and... Find out more

Personal protective equipment: getting the right fit for women

In the workplace personal protective equipment can save lives. Yet in many occupations, in spite of the increasing numbers of women employed, this equipment continues to be designed by men for men. A number of recent initiatives seek to design protective gear catering for the different shape of the female body. There is a scarcity of personal... Find out more

Barbara Matejčić

In the bowels of the earth, beside the last female miners in Europe

Only around a dozen remain throughout the Balkans. As a legacy from the Communist era and its ideal of emancipating women through work, the employment of women in the mining industry has for a time survived the transition to capitalism. Encounter with the last female “black faces” in Europe. When Šemsa Hadžo wakes at 5 a.m. and goes out to the yard... Find out more

Denis Grégoire

A book to regalvanise occupational health

Last April, Editions La Découverte published a work entitled Les risques du travail or “The risks of work”, with the shock subtitle: Pour ne pas perdre sa vie à la gagner or “How not to lose your life while earning a living”. Thirty years earlier, the first edition had been an unexpected success (25 000 copies sold). We asked the work’s four... Find out more

Angelo Ferracuti

You can’t stand in the way of progress: Icelandic tale about a heralded relocation

In August 2014, the US aluminium giant, Alcoa, decided to permanently close its Portovesme plant in the poorest province of Italy, Carbonia-Iglesias, in southern Sardinia. With the loss of several thousand jobs, the region is now a social desert … and an ecological one too, given that the waters around the industrial site are contaminated with... Find out more

Should slavery be abolished?

The idea that a legal rule can be legitimised by its economic impact is not new. The fascinating work of a historian and a sociologist shows that this legitimisation by economic calculation permeated debates on slavery in France in the 18th and 19th centuries. This book sheds invaluable historical light on the current debates on European regulation... Find out more

Denis Grégoire

Cancer at Samsung: comic book tribute to a father's fight

The drawing in the box is heartrending: a man sitting behind a steering wheel turns round, reaches out his hand and touches the vehicle’s back seat. The words in the balloon read: "Sometimes, when there are no customers, I look at this back seat and have the impression that she’s there." It’s Hwang Sang-ki who’s speaking. This taxi driver is... Find out more

Berta Chulvi

Mujeres apoyando a mujeres

Tras las historias de trabajadoras que han conseguido visibilizar su enfermedad profesional, encontramos mujeres sindicalistas que tratan de convencer a sus organizaciones de la necesidad de un enfoque de género en la prevención de riesgos. Encontramos también médicas que saben escuchar a las mujeres. Quizás esto sea la expresión de lo que el desde... Find out more

Barbara Matejčić

U zemljinoj utrobi uz posljednje rudarke u Europi

Tek ih je nekolicina preostala na Balkanu. Kao naslije?e komunisti?ke težnje da se žene emancipiraju kroz rad, žene su u rudnicima preživjele tranziciju u kapitalisti?ko društvo. Susre?emo posljednja ženska “crna lica” u Europi. Kada se Šemsa Hadžo budi u pet sati i izlazi u dvorište da bi pomuzla svoju jedinu kravu, dah joj stvara paru zbog... Find out more

Table of contents

Women at work: in search of recognition