This European Women’s Voice issue aims to contribute to a better insight in a gender equal and sustainable model for society in which equal sharing of political and economic power is a fundamental principle, translated into tangible policies and actions.
The countries in focus are Croatia, Ireland and Italy. It intends to provide a stimulus for discussion on how women’s organisations can advocate for parity legislation and foster women’s participation on Boards.
Women make up more than half of the population and electorate in the European Union (EU), yet they continue to be underrepresented in all economic and political decision making bodies at all levels. The average representation of women in national parliaments is 24% and in national governments 23%. The number of women presidents of Europe’s largest companies has fallen from 4% to 3% since 2004. For the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) and its members, this underrepresentation of women constitutes a serious democratic deficit, which undermines the legitimacy of the contemporary democratic ideal.
The EWL is very grateful to all the women who contributed an article or interview in this issue of the European Women’s Voice, and more particularly to Ms Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Italian Minister for Integration and Youth Policy. On the eve of elections’ year 2014 and while austerity measures are hitting women’s economic independence very hard, the European Union is in a better position to continue to take a leadership role on issues of gender equality that are crucial for the wellbeing of all.