[Brussels, 15 May 2012] Eight years after the enlargement of the EU to ten new Member States in 2004, the new Executive Committee of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) reflects the positive experience of collaboration and integration of the women’s movement in Europe.
Slovene representative Sonja Lokar, the first President of the organisation hailing from a new Member State, heads a new 40 member Board of Administration elected on 13 May in Budapest by delegates from 30 countries and representing more than 2000 organisations. Her Executive includes members from Cyprus (Susana Pavlou), Malta (Renee Laiviera) and EU candidate country, Croatia (Rada Boric). Vice-Presidents Viviane Teitelbaum (Belgium) and Martha Jean Baker (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom), and Treasurer Liz Law from the UK complete the seven person Executive Committee.
Brigitte Triems from Germany, who won a standing ovation from the Board for her work and commitment over two terms as President of the EWL, comments: “Hailing from East Germany myself, it is a particular pleasure for me to witness the fruition of the last decade of intense cooperation between women’s associations from old and new Member States in the framework of the European Women’s Lobby and to pass the Presidency of the EWL to my esteemed colleague and friend, Sonja Lokar.”
Ms. Lokar is a long-standing women’s rights activist on the national, European and international stages, a former member of the Slovene Parliament, Executive Director of the CEE Network for Gender Issues and a founding member of the Women’s Lobby of Slovenia.
This year’s General Assembly of the EWL was held in Budapest as a sign of solidarity with the women of Hungary who are confronted with extremely adverse circumstances in their struggle for equal rights. Sonja Lokar highlighted how widespread austerity measures which impact disproportionately on women, put at risk many basic rights secured by women’s rights activists over the last decades:
“Times are difficult for the women’s movement in Europe: our resources are heavily diminished and continue to be threatened while gender equality is falling foul of cuts in wages, jobs and services as well as a resurgence of conservative views of women and their rights. As President of the EWL, my primary objective will be to reverse this trend.”