[Brussels, 16 March 2021] The Board of EWL gathered online during the weekend of 27-28 February 2021 for its bi-annual meeting. For the Board, which includes representatives from EWL’s National Coordinations and European-wide organisations, this is a key moment to discuss current trends and needs of the women’s movement, make plans for the year ahead, and reflect together on common strategies and objectives.
This time, Board Members focused in particular on EWL’s plans and priorities for 2021 and, together with the EWL Secretariat, discussed EWL’s vision on ways to work towards equality between women and men in the coming years, in order to lay the basis for the organisation’s new 5-year Strategic Framework.
Among other issues, the members presented some of their future activities and we exchanged views on ways to support them at national, regional and international level across all of EWL’s strategic aims. We also held discussions on key areas of EWL’s work in 2021, including on the situation of women during the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. In this context, EWL members and the Secretariat explored ideas to promote the situation of women and girls through different advocacy and campaigning initiatives.
The Board also decided to hold EWL’s next General assembly – planned for 4-6 June – online because of the current pandemic restrictions and potential risks on the health and safety of staff and members. The General Assembly brings together delegates and observers from across EWL’s 48 full-member organisations, as well as a number of observers from our Supporting members.
The Board Meeting was also an opportunity to present updates about EWL’s ongoing engagements on different topics. For example, with preparations for the Commission of the Status of Women almost concluded and the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico fast approaching, in the upcoming weeks EWL will have the chance to share our experience and positions and advocate for the rights of women and girls on an international level.
Additionally, EWL is a part of the UN Action Coalition group on Gender Based Violence. In the next weeks, we will be bringing our priorities and demands to UN spaces, from framing the legislation on Violence Against Women and Girls to demanding increased support to women organisations so they can campaign and implement prevention programs globally.
While presenting last year highlights to the Board, we celebrated our collective work which brought the public’s attention to the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic on women and girls as well as in advancing our demands during the 16 Days of Activism for the Elimination of violence against women and girlsin November/December 2020. In parallel, our effective advocacy during the MFF negotiations resulted in the top-ups of €800 million made to the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme, which is the source of financing for many women’s organisations and programmes to combat violence against women and girls in the EU – the amount being more than doubled to €1.6 billion!
Lastly, the Board was briefed on some of EWL’s ongoing streams of work where we reported some improvements, such as the work on the Pay Transparency Directive and Women on Boards Directive by the European Commission, the safety of women and girls online and the fight for Europe free of prostitution.
The EWL looks forward to the upcoming key moments and opportunities for the year ahead, as well as to further fruitful discussions and exchanges in June’s General Assembly.