[Brussels, 6 August 2019] With the European parliamentary elections concluded, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is conducting a reflection on the various activities women all across Europe engaged in, in order to campaign for true, fair parity democracy in the European institutions.
For women across Europe, the elections were a welcome sign of progress as the results clearly show that many citizens are striving for a feminist, sustainable Europe, with now 41% of MEP’s being women. The EWL welcomes the confirmed nomination of the first women president of the European Commission, as well as parity in the European parliamentary appointments of vice-presidents; the European Union begins to emerge into the 21st century.
The EWL engaged in a European-wide campaign commencing in June 2018, advocating for increased women’s participation and representation in European level decision making as well as our core political demands for realising a feminist Europe. Engaging in several activities, members of the EWL facilitated sustained campaigns, high-level impactful events and raising awareness on women’s rights for nearly a year.
One of our central activities was to raise awareness on the reality of online violence; a burning issue which threatens women’s participation in political debate and leadership.
Having mapped this critical issue in the #HerNetHerRights report and resource pack in 2017, the EWL outlined that violence against women in the digital space is a part of the continuum of violence against womenand not a separate phenomenon; 45% of domestic violence survivors reported experiencing some form of abuse online during their relationship and 1 in 3 women politicians have experienced some form of online violence.
With this understanding, theEWL Observatory on Violence against Women and EWL Women in Politics Working group, in project cooperation with Google, developed the #HerNetHerRights II: Prevent, Protect, Promote training sessions for women political candidates and activists engaging in the election and surrounding debates. EWL members from Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Italy, Romania and Turkey in conjunction with the EWL Secretariat organised 13 training sessions across Europe throughout January to May 2019. These national level training sessions were supplemented with international sessions conducted with the Young European Socialists(YES) and the European Greens, as well at key events such as UN CSW 63.
The aim of the training was to equip participants with the EWL’s feminist, holistic analysis on the continuum of VAWG whilst providing practical advice on what they can do if they are experiencing online violence.
The training reinforces the importance of the digital space as a tool of activism, community-building and transformative change; highlighting the important activism of groups such as Take Back the Tech and Glitch! Feminist organisations working internationally to eradicate violence against women in the digital space and create true digital citizenship founded in the human rights based approach.
The session concludes by highlighting that more legislative and political progress is needed in order to eradicate VAWG in all spaces, online and offline. Through developing joint advocacy calls and campaign ideas, participants concluded the training sessions by committing to being champions of the cause of ending violence against women and girls in their new political mandates.
Reaching over 100 political candidates and nearly 400 trained participants, the EWL would like to take this opportunity to extend special thanks to our national coordination’s, Observatory experts and representatives in the Women in politics working group in the participating countries of this project.
Your incredible dedication to protecting women, increasing their participation and raising awareness led to our message reaching millions of people across Europe throughout the campaign.
The EWL calls on the EU and all member states to ratify and fully implement the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating violence against women and domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention, which recognises the consequences of multiple forms of violence against women, including in the digital space.
Find out more about EWL campaign on the Istanbul Convention here