Posted on 16 September 2014
[Brussels, 16 September 2014] Here you find some reactions of international newspapers to the new Composition of the European Commission.
These articles mention EWL’s disappointment and report the view of our Fundraising Coordinator and Policy Officer Serap Altinisik on this issue.
Posted on 12 September 2014
[Brussels, 12 September 2014] The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) welcomes the appointment of Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers & Gender Equality.
Not only a title
“Gender Equality” has been explicitly acknowledged in Ms Jourová’s title, which we believe to be a strong political statement. It was one of the EWL demands in our Manifesto for the European Parliamentary elections of May and we look very much forward to engage in dialogue with Ms Jourová on about how to ensure women’s rights and make gender equality become a reality in the EU.
In his ’Mission Letter’ to Věra Jourová, future Commission President Juncker mentions (very briefly) what is expected on the gender equality subject.
“Ensuring that, within the scope of EU competences, discrimination is fought and gender equality promoted, including by exploring how to unblock negotiations on the Commission proposal for the Horizontal Anti-Discrimination Directive.”*
This is very good news for the anti-discrimination directive and the EWL has high expectations of what is further foreseen on the topic of ’promoting gender equality’.
Overrepresentation of men
The European Women’s Lobby stays however dismayed with the fact that the Juncker Commission consists of only 9 women Commissioners out of 28. This is no progress in comparison to the Barroso Commission and clearly not a mirror of European society, of which more than half of the population is female. For the European Women’s Lobby it is a disgrace to democracy that this overrepresentation of men is still acceptable for the European institutions and the EU Member States.
We urge all European Commissioners-designate to prioritise gender equality in their own portfolios. Evidently for the European Women’s Lobby, a position for a Commissioner-designate known for sexist statements is simply unacceptable.
We expect the European Parliament to still carefully consider during the hearings whether the equal representation of women and men is met with the current proposal of the College of the EC.
Follow Commissioner-designate Jourová on Twitter [twitter.com/VeraJourova>https://twitter.com/VeraJourova]
EWL earlier articles
Women hold up half the sky http://www.womenlobby.org/news/ewl-news/article/women-hold-up-half-the-sky-no?lang=en
The potentional new European Commission, no thank you http://womenlobby.org/news/ewl-news/article/the-potential-new-european?lang=en
Picture copyright European Commission
Posted on 5 September 2014
[Brussels, 5 September 2014] Today future European Commission (EC) President Juncker published the full list of commissioner-candidates.
While the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) welcomes the fact that during the past weeks the number of proposed female Commissioners by the Member States increased from a shameful 4 to 9, the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union still believes that a stagnation in the numbers of women Commissioner is unacceptable for women across the EU. At this snail’s pace, European women will have to wait another half of a century and won’t even live to see parity.
Even the “Ten Or More” mark is not reached, as some former Commissioners, such as Neelie Kroes, asked for. The composition of the EC is clearly not a mirror of European society, of which more than half of the population is female and much more diverse than the current proposed Commissioners.
Moreover, there are still (too) many member states which have never appointed a woman as a Commissioner, namely Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia. We call on these members states to fully implement the core values of the EU, namely to ensure gender equality. Therefore, we demand that these states get rid of their blind spot when it comes to women politicians and to appoint them to decision-making positions at EU level.
Furthermore, The EWL, urgently calls on the future president to appoint a European Commissioner for women’s rights and gender equality to show that the EC has landed in the 21st century.
We call on the European Parliament, directly elected by the citizens of Europe, to carefully consider whether the equal representation of women and men is met with the current proposal of the College of the EC.
Women hold up half of the sky but the clouds continue to cover the horizon.
Last week we said #notmyEU, now we say #notenough.
The women of team Juncker.
Posted on 28 August 2014
[Brussels, 28 August 2014] The composition of the new European Commission is going to be confirmed at the meeting of the EU Heads of States this weekend. Almost all Member States have however already proposed their candidates for Commisioner and at the moment only 4 women have been designated out of 28. This means that not even 15% of the Commission would be women, less than half as many as in the outgoing Commission Barroso.
For the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) the question arises: is this the Europan Union we want?
The EWL, the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union (EU), is simply outraged. This is a clear disgrace to democracy and equality between women and men; ideals that form the core values of the EU. Women’s rights organisations across Europe cannot accept that the future Commission is not representing the diversity of the European society, by obviously ignoring 50% of the population. The EWL and its members say loud and clear: “No thank you! This is not our European Union”.
We demand from European governments, in particular Member States which have never appointed a woman as a Commissioner*, to fulfil their obligation with regards to the EU’s core values and to contribute to a gender equal Commission.
We call on the future president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker to ensure that the final composition of the Commission will represent what European citizens, both women and men ask for: a democratic, gender equal and sustainable European voice.
We also call on the future president to express his genuine political will to achieve equality between women and men in Europe and appoint a European Commissioner for women’s rights and gender equality. This is an essential step to guarantee more visibility to the active role of women and their right to be equal to men within a society based on democracy, social justice, human rights and dignity. Moreover, as there is room to appoint a Commissioner responsible for fish, why not appoint one for women’s rights?
Join our social media campaign and share your outrage with your governements and your followers using the hashtags #notmyEU, #5050campaign, #TenOrMore
*Member States that have never put forward a woman for the position of European Commissioner
Posted on 4 July 2014
The final conference of the EWL 50/50 and Parity Democracy for Europe Campaign: No Modern European Democracy without Gender Equality!
Hosted by MEP Ulrike Lunacek, with a video message from Gloria Steinem, American feminist, journalist, social and political activist.
This event will address the outcomes of the 2014 European Parliament elections from a gender perspective and aims to evaluate the impact of the Parity Democracy and EWL 50/50 Campaign.
Newly elected MEPs, governmental bodies, academics, NGOs and journalists will find answers to questions such as: How to ensure elected women are in top positions within the European Parliament? How to mainstream gender equality within the Media? And how to ensure the diversity of women within politics?
With a keynote speech by US speaker Jessica N. Grounds, former Executive Director and Co-Founder of Running Start. She is also the founder and principal strategist for Solid Grounds Strategy, a firm she created to consult women candidates who run for office for the first time.
Date: 9 July 13h < 18h (Starting with a network lunch)
Venue : European Parliament Brussels - Altiero Spinelli Building ROOM A1 G-3
To attend the event, please register via the form below.
Please contact Gina Horst at ✉firstname.lastname@example.org ; 02/210 04 41 or Serap Altinisik at ✉email@example.com ; 02/210 04 27 with any questions and requests for further information.
Posted on 30 June 2014
[Brussels, 30 June 2014] By the end of last week, the Council of Ministers finally decided to nominate Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission. Following the democratic decision taken by the European voters, giving the majority to the European People’s Party, it was a necessary step. But having now nominated a man as the President of the Commission one of the most influential positions at the EU institutions, we urge the Member States to use the opportunity to establish an equal representation of women and men in EU institutions by equally appointing women and men to the other 30 top-positions of the Union: 28 Commissioners, President of the Parliament and President of the Council of Ministers as well as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
As Parity is one of European Women’s Lobby (EWL) main demands of the 50/50 campaign, we continue urging national governments to propose one women and one man for each Commissioner position, as well as for the Presidency of the Council, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Presidency of the European Parliament. The political groups inside the Parliament do have the same responsibility: ensuring gender parity in the nomination of chairpersons within Committees, as well as in the composition of the Bureaus.
Especially in times of crisis, where trust and credibility are at stake with regards to the EU and its institutions, we need a European Union that represents its societal diversity, including parity between women and men. Furthermore the EU needs a strong message to back women’s rights and gender equality which are undergoing a backlash in many ways across the European society. The designated Commissioner Juncker sees an urgent need to establish a Commissioner for Internet but oversees the urgent need to include half of the population, namely women in the College of the Commission. The European Women’s Lobby asks for the instauration of a Commissioner position for gender equality and women’s rights which would give a strong signal for gender equality across Europe and beyond.
Let’s make sure that this can happen. Go for 50/50!
Posted on 12 June 2014
[Brussels, 4 June 2014] Europe’s small steps towards 50/50 Number of women in the European Parliament increases by 1,75%: at this pace it will take half a century until we reach gender parity
One week after the European Parliament elections, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) and its members has been analysing the election results with regards to the representation of elected women elected to the European Parliament. The percentage of women in the EP, the only directly elected institution of the European Union (EU), stands at almost 37%, this is an increase of 1,75% in comparison to the European elections in 2009.
EWL Secretary General, Joanna Maycock, states “with this snail’s pace it will be another half a century before the European Parliament would reach gender parity in 52 years, despite the fact that women make up more than half the EU’s population.”
GROUPS ANALYSIS - EPP stays behind.
EWL-analysis based on preliminary results by europedecides.eu/results/
A two-speed Europe for parity
The election results show a clear picture with regards to political families’ commitments to reach parity. The conservative and far right parties are lagging behind in comparison to center and left parties. During its 5050 campaign “No Modern European Democracy without Gender Equality” ahead of the EP election in 2014 the EWL demanded best-fit quota systems according to the national electoral systems. Evidence shows that whether a quota/parity system reaches its objectives depends largely on effective sanctions. A conclusion which has been confirmed through the results of the EU elections 2014. In this sense for example the S&D political family performed notably well with regards to women candidates elected into the EP with a percentage of 45.5%. On the contrary the share of women is only 30.4 % in the political family of EPP.
Voter apathy and the swing to the right jeopardises women’s rights
In large parts of Europe the low voter turnout and success of far right and populist parties represent a risk to the development and implementation of progressive anti-discrimination policies including women’s rights and gender equality.
The backward looking ideology and openly misogynist views of some of the parties and individuals elected represents a challenge to Europe’s relative success in tackling gender inequality. Joanna Maycock says “we are concerned that support for women’s organisations will also be further under threat as we have already observed in our work on austerity.”
There is still a chance for a real step forward
The political families within the European Parliament have a unique chance to change the image of European Politics out of touch with voters by having a leadership which better reflects the diversity of the electorate. The political groups must give women voters and elected women the same voice and weight, as their male counterparts. Political parties have the opportunity to bring change and parity to the EP by nominating women and man as candidates for the European Parliaments presidential elections.
The EWL demands from all political groups to ensure gender parity and non-gender biased portfolios when nominating and appointing MEPs for decision-making positions in the EP.
Women are not a minority, but represent the majority of the European society. Therefore, women must be represented in all portfolios of the decision-making positions in the European Parliament. EWL Fundraising Coordinator and Policy Officer, Serap Altinisik, remarks “gender can only be mainstreamed when women have a say and are involved at all levels of decision-making by chairing for example committees of the EP.”
For more information or interviews, please contact:
✉Elvira Buijink, EWL Media and Communication Officer firstname.lastname@example.org -+32 02/210 04 40
✉Serap Altinisik, EWL Policy Officer and Fundraising Coordinator email@example.com -+32 02/210 04 27
Posted on 21 May 2014
[Brussels, 21 May 2014] The Swedish Women’s Lobby published yesterday a report on the voting behavior of current MEPs with regards to women’s rights. They furthermore asked the candidates what they are planning to do for women’s rights if elected in the upcoming elections.
Please find the press release, including the link to the report, in Swedish here.
If you don’t know yet for whom you should vote in these elections, the Lobby furthermore organises a debate with some of the candidates today in Stockholm, which you are more than welcome to join.
Posted on 20 May 2014
[Brussels, 19 May 2014] This week, EU Citizens have the right to vote in the European elections. The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) has done some analysis of the manifestos of the main European political parties from a gender perspective. The EWL Gender Audit assesses the parties’ commitment to gender equality and how their manifestos compare with the EWL’s own manifesto for the elections.
The EWL Manifesto "Act now for her future, commit to gender equality!"makes three general demands:
It also focuses on the importance of promoting women’s economic independence through guaranteeing equal pay for men and women, the urgent need for firm measures to end violence against women including through an EU Year to End Violence against women and girls in 2016, and the realisation of parity democracy.
The EWL Gender Audit assesses the level of commitment within the main European political parties to gender equality in Europe in the following policy areas:
We are surprised to see that two of the European parties, namely the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE), do not mention ‘women’ even once in their manifestos. We invite both these parties to reflect on how to strengthen their commitment to gender equality.
The manifestos of the European Greens, the Party of European Socialist (PES) and the European Left Party do include commitments to a number of relevant aspects of the EWL manifesto. The EWL analysis includes areas where we would like to see these parties reinforce their commitment.
This evaluation provides a powerful tool for the EWL, its member organisations and all European citizens who will be voting this week and want to see gender equality and women’s rights high on the political agenda.
Why is it important to go and vote? The European Union is a key player in terms of democracy and social change. By voting at the European elections in May, you decide who represents YOU in the European Parliament. The candidates you choose are your supporters for the next five years. They define European politics, take on the present and shape the future of women and girls, men and boys in Europe.
So, share this information with your networks, your friends and families and vote for change in Europe, vote for equality this week!
Posted on 9 May 2014
[Brussels, 9 May 2014] The Coordination of Greek Women’s NGOS , a member of the European Women’s Lobby, held a conference on the subject of Parity Democracy with regards to the upcoming elections by the end of April. This event took place in the Offices of the European Parliament in Athens and aimed at raising awareness for the importance of these elections, and at highlighting the special issue of equal representation in political decision-making.
The Greek Minister of Internal Affairs, the General Secretary of Social Affairs, the Head of the European Parliament Office in Athens, Greek and European Parliamentarians, candidates for the elections from all the parties agreed on the urgent need to mobilise European Citizens, especially women, to vote in the very important May elections.
Women candidates used the opportunity to present their priorities and show their engagement in the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality, against gender-based violence, as well as the promotion of women’s social and economic independence.
Mika Ioannidou, Head of the Coordination of Greek Women’s NGOS and Board Member of the EWL, furthermore talked about the work of the EWL and stressed the need to vote for women and candidates that are committed to gender equality: “The European Union is a key player for Democracy and Social change. Women today are very well educated and represent a complete pool of talents, new ideas and dynamism”.