[Brussels, 8 May 2014] Guy Verhofstadt, candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission for the Liberal ALDE-party, has signed the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) Manifesto for the European Elections, in the presence of EWL President Ms. Viviane Teitelbaum. With him, two top candidates have now endorsed the EWL Manifesto.
For the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) achieving substantive equality between women and men, promoting women’s rights and empowering women and girls should be an absolute priority of the European Union (EU) and its Member States. The Manifesto "Act now for her future, commit to gender equality!" comprises the main concrete demands of the EWL for the coming European elections and calls for meaningful change towards equality for all.
Two weeks before the European elections, Mr. Verhofstadt officially backs the demands of the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union. At the event, which took place at the EWL’s office in Brussels, Mr. Verhofstadt signed the EWL Manifesto and the Joint Declaration “No Modern Democracy without Gender Equality of the 50/50 campaign”
When asked by the President of the EWL Viviane Teitelbaum, Guy Verhofstadt committed to implement the needed measures to have parity in the European Commission and said, “This it is the easiest thing to do”.
Viviane Teitelbaum thanked Guy Verhofstadt for his commitment to gender equality and said “Achieving substantive equality between women and men, promoting women’s rights and empowering women should be a priority of the European Union and its Member States. Our Manifesto develops our vision of a Europe committed to the realisation of equality between women and men”. Furthermore, she said that “the EWL urges all candidates to the European elections to endorse it!”
The Manifesto makes three general demands: a comprehensive framework to achieve gender equality through notably the establishment of an EU Coordinator on women’s rights and gender equality; sustainable funding for gender equality; and credible EU policies on gender equality at international level. It also focuses on the importance of promoting women’s economic independence, the urgency for firm measures to end violence against women including through designating 2016 as the EU Year to End Violence against women and girls, the guarantee of equality in paid and unpaid work for men and women, including through adequate care services, and the taking into account of women’s diversity in needs.
Via the demands of its 50/50 campaign, the EWL additionally seeks to tackle the under-representation of women in EU decision-making, which it believes to be a serious democratic deficit for the EU as a whole. The 50/50 campaign aims to promote therefore the equal representation of women and men in all European institutions and to put women’s rights and gender equality high on the EU political agenda. The EWL urges the future European Commission President to present a gender-balanced College and the European Parliament to elect a gender-balanced Commission and guarantee parity in all the decision-making positions within its house.
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EWL President Viviane Teitelbaum and Guy Verhofstadt