[Brussels, 4 July 2022] On 10 - 12 June 2022, over 120 feminists from all parts of Europe met online for the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) annual General Assembly and Board meetings. The General Assembly is the most important moment of the year for our organisation as EWL members representing a total of more than 2000 organisations come together and decide on the way to advance the feminist agenda in Europe in the coming year.
During these few dynamic days, we discussed the organisation’s impact in the previous year, its short-term and long-term strategies, and the ways to continue building a feminist vision for the future of Europe. We also acknowledged the tireless work of our members and staff who continued making positive change in their communities, countries and across Europe, confronting the significant negative impact on women’s rights caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
Women in Ukraine continue to bear additional burdens of war and the vast majority of refugees are women accompanied by children. Following the yearlong work and collaboration with women’s organisations in Ukraine, EWL members discussed the proposal to strengthen our support and solidarity with the women affected by war by inviting Ukrainian and Moldovan organisations into our membership. As stressed in its recommendations to the European Commission on 6 April 2022, EWL firmly believes that women’s organisations from Ukraine must be represented at every stage of the process to strive for peace in Ukraine and in the region, and we are committed to supporting our sisters in their efforts to accomplish this.
Since the late 1990s, EWL has established itself as a strong liaison between EU institutions and forums and the national networks of women’s organisations in the EU neighbourhood. Following the 2022 General Assembly’s decision to approve the proposal to expand our membership, we are dedicated to continuing to offer our network, resources and platforms to women’s organisations in Ukraine and Moldova and support them to take part in setting the agenda to shape a peaceful, inclusive and feminist Europe.
The input from EWL members across Europe confirmed that the continuing political backlash against women’s rights and the deep and persisting inequalities that impede progress in achieving equality between women and men will continue to create a challenging environment for EWL’s work. However, it will also present opportunities to progress on our mission to bring transformational change and make our society more inclusive, just and equal, leaving no woman or girl behind. The bold feminist voice of EWL members must be at the forefront of the resistance against sexism, populism, and antifeminism in Europe, and we are looking forward to celebrating the impact of our joint work again at the 2023 EWL General Assembly.