[Brussels, 14 July 2014] On 9 July the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) welcomed over 120 participants to an event at the European Parliament on women in politics. The event was organized to wrap up the European Women’s Lobby 50/50 campaign 2012-2014, run in collaboration with the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies’ campaign Parity Democracy and supported by a Campaign Core Group of MEP’s from different EU political groups (ALDE, Greens/EFA, GUE-NGL, EPP, S&D).
After a networking lunch and an introductory speech by Susana Elisa Pavlou (Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies) four different panels addressed the outcomes of the 2014 European Parliament elections from a gender perspective.
The panels were moderated by journalists Laura Shields (The Media Coach), Tanja Mileska (Euractiv), Sybille Bassler (ZDF) and Gabriele Steinhauser (The Wall Street Journal) and coordinated by Serap Altinisik, from the European Women’s Lobby.
Jessica N. Grounds, Co-founder of Running Start and Director of Women Ready for Hillary was the keynote speaker of the conference and she gave a very inspiring speech on how to increase the participation of women in politics, especially by inspiring and encouraging young women and girls to get involved in politics.
The event was supported by a cross party group of MEPs who also participated in the various panels: Ulrike Lunacek (Greens) MEP hosted the conference, while Malin Björk (GUE/NGL), Terry Reintke (Greens) and Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP) spoke about their experience and the challenges they faced in politics.
Other panelists coming from different civil society organizations and institutions shared their concerns about equal representation in politics and their strategies to overcome the many remaining barriers to women’s equal participation. EWL Members underlined the progress in their countries, while Judit Tancoz (FEPS), Natalie Labourdette (Eurovision Academy) and Germana Viglietta (Italian Permanent Representation to the EU) gave some overviews on the presence of women in politics, employment and media.
Viglietta presented the goals of the Italian Presidency, very much focused on employment and growth, and said that there is a gender pillar in the overall strategy. Then, Serap Altinisik handed over the Joint declaration of the 50/50 campaign to her, highlighting that EWL hopes that the Italian presidency will take action to achieve parity and will strengthen women’s right across Europe.
After a final speech by EWL President Viviane Teitelbaum, EWL Secretary General Joanna Maycock wrapped up the results of the conference, answering the question: “What can we do to boost equal representation?”
She pointed out SEVEN KEY POINTS emerging from the 50/50 Campaign and the conference that feminist activists need to address:
Introducing quotas for equal representation of men and women. To achieve that, feminists need both to work inside political parties and to raise awareness in civil society.
Starting NOW to take action on the local, national and European level.
Work towards improving women’s skills, such as public speaking, networking, managing a team.
Creating solidarity among women politicians through support networks.
Campaigning on zero tolerance on sexism.
Strengthening women’s movement in support of these goals.
Working with the media.
During the conference EWL also organized an interactive session, chaired by Annette Lawson (NAWO). Lawson asked the audience to vote to commit on several principles to ensure equal representation of women in politics and in civil society.
Here the principles for the achievement of parity and diversity in Europe, that the audience committed to:
1. Will you, whenever the possibility arises, ask your government to nominate one female and one male candidate for to the College of Commissioners and for all top jobs in the EU institutions as a principle of democracy and fairness?
2. Will you, whenever the topic of decision-making positions of EU institutions arises, ask your Member State and the Council of the EU to promote and to ensure gender parity in the executive board and top positions of the European Central Bank?
3. Will you ask the political groups in the European Parliament to promote and ensure gender representation in their decision-making bodies and promote women candidates for decision-making positions in the European Parliament as a matter of justice and diversity?
4. Will you speak out loudly within your own network and organisation to have an equal representation of women and men in decision-making positions as a matter of inclusion and equality?
5. Will you ensure and raise the importance that specific needs of women of ethnic minorities are mainstreamed in all areas of policy-making?
6. Will you ask the EU to address and tackle the stereotypical representation and treatment of women in the media, including on social media?
7. Will you demand of your national government that they introduce ‘temporary special measures’ (as recommended by the CEDAW Committee to achieve level playing fields), to ensure greater representation of women in decision making?’
EWL continues to keep its 5050 campaign, but takes the great momentum of this conference to push further parity on the agenda of EU institutions. There is still a long way to democratize EU bodies and to put women’s issues on EU agenda! It is also a matter of actively engaging citizens and building a truly European citizenship.
One day after our 50/50 conference at the European Parliament women European Commissioners started an action to ensure that at least 10 of the new Commissioners will be women, called #TenOrMore. Of course EWL supports actively this campaign but it goes one step further and asks for parity in all EU institutions: women across Europe are a discriminated majority.
Therefore we would like to remind President Juncker of the about EWL 5050 campaign Joint declaration whose one of main demands was parity within the new College of the European Commission as a matter of fairness and justice. Now he has the opportunity to convince EU Chief of States and Governments to make parity a reality.
Here you can read the Joint declaration.
Spread the world and ask your networks to be part of the continuing EWL 50/50 campaign by befriending EWL on facebook, following in on Twitter and receiving our Newsletter.
The EWL asks MEPs to challenge the legitimacy of a College of Commissioners that is not equally representing women and men within its own ranks.