[Brussels, 04 October 2011] The European Women’s Lobby (EWL), the largest association of women’s rights organisations in the European Union (EU), yesterday welcomed the election of Swedish MEP Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL) to the Chair of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) Committee of the European Parliament. Mr. Gustafsson takes over from Ms. Eva-Britt Svensson, with whom he ran for election in 2009 on a shared platform calling for a strengthened gender equality perspective in European politics and decision-making.
‘We warmly welcome Mr. Gustafsson’s declared commitment to continue the crucial work of Ms. Svensson in such key areas as countering violence against women, increasing women’s economic independence and influence in decision-making. We look forward to working closely with him towards these ends.’ said Brigitte Triems, EWL President.
The EWL strongly advocates gender balance in politics and in the distribution of all decision-making positions within the EU institutions. The election for the first time since its establishment in 1984 of a man to chair the FEMM Committee has been greeted as an opportunity to relaunch the debate on parity within the Parliament, notably in view of upcoming mid-term internal elections.
According to Cécile Gréboval, Secretary General of the EWL: ‘For us, the priority is for the elected Chair, whether woman or man, to show strong and progressive leadership to bring about concrete advances for women’s rights and gender equality in Europe. It is on this criteria that we will be judging Mr. Gustafsson’s performance over the coming months, and we trust that he will live up to these expectations. With this in mind, we also count on Mr. Gustafsson to play an active role in advocating gender balance in decision-making within the Parliament, including in view of the mid-term elections in January 2012 and EP elections in 2014.’
Eva-Britt Svensson resigned from the European Parliament in September 2011 due to health reasons. Mikael Gustafsson was her alternate on the 2009 electoral lists. Aside from chairing the FEMM Committee, Mr. Gustafsson also takes up a seat within the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.