European Women’s Voice: Austerity


Women & Decision-Making

#WomenInPolitics 2015

Women on Boards in Europe 2015 report

Feminist Friends




Funded by the Progress Programme of the European Union
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About us

Here you will find all you ever wanted to know (and more!) about the EWL: the details of who’s who, how we all came together, what we are striving for and how we go about it.

10. History


Founded in 1990 with 12 national member organisations, the European Women’s Lobby is one of the (...)

20. Mission, vision and values

Mission, vision and values

The EWL’s mission is to promote real and effective equality between women and men, in all (...)

30. How we work

How we work

A membership-based organisation with democratic and transparent procedures, the EWL works (...)

30. EWL Observatory on Violence against Women

EWL Observatory on Violence (...)

The EWL manages an Observatory on Violence against Women, drawing together experts from 33 (...)

40. Our membership

Our membership

Currently, the EWL counts more than 2000 member organisations in 31 countries, organised into (...)

50. People


Decision-making within the EWL falls to the 40 members of the Board of Administration, elected (...)

60. Job and internship opportunities

Job and internship opportunities

Job, and, in particular, internship opportunities at the EWL Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium, (...)

70. Contact us

Contact us

You will find here contact details of the EWL Secretariat based in Brussels, Belgium, and some (...)



Founded in 1990, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is the largest alliance of women’s non-governmental associations in the European Union with a steadily increasing membership. The EWL currently consists of member organisations in all 27 EU Member States and three of the four official-candidate countries as well as 21 European-wide member organisations working on very diverse areas and activities. The EWL represents an overall of more than 2500 organisations.

Our collective feminist voice makes a significant difference as we work together at predominantly the European but also the national level in order to achieve equality between women and men in all areas of public and private life; actively address issues of economic and social justice and independence for women; work towards the equal representation of women and men in decision-making, and safeguarding women’s human rights including the eradication of male violence against women. We work within a human rights framework and ensure that we function within democratic, open and transparent procedures of communication, decision-making and accountability, including financial accountability.

The membership of the EWL has grown substantially from 12 to 30 national co ordinations from 1990 to 2010, with new national members joining each year, as well as some European-wide organisations. The EWL can count on solid established, transparent and democratic decision-making and consultation processes and other participatory processes and on a membership which has shaped those procedures and is ready to input, participate and contribute. Such processes will provide an invaluable basis as well as a space to watch out for and ensure that the enlarged membership is mirrored in the structures and decision making processes. Indeed, one of the strongest features of the EWL is political consensus on common values and positions on the broad range of issues the organisation is tackling. This consensual dimension provides cohesion within the organisation and the legitimacy to be active in different political fora. While the statutes of the EWL provide for voting mechanisms, decisions continue to be reached on the basis of consensus on a great majority of issues.

Building the capacity of EWL Member Organisations is an important focus of our work and activities. The stronger our members, the stronger the collective voice of the EWL at the EU level and it is through emphasising the local, regional and national levels that we can have comprehensive and influential results on policy-making and implementation of policies. The EWL does this in multiple ways, such as by reacting to the EWL members’ demands (for lobbying actions, specific concerns, areas of concentration in their country) and by proactively engaging in a systematic multilayered communicative process whereby information, briefings, various tools, detailed information on possible funding and training – and more – is exchanged. To that effect, we constantly reflect on and develop tools and processes in order to ensure that our mission and objectives are met and that the EWL members are directly involved, engaged, and informed in all processes at all levels.

The European Women’s Lobby monitors and inputs into important political processes at the European Union level, which are relevant for women’s rights including those policy adaptations and innovations required by the radical economic and social changes of the national, EU and world context. We aim to reflect the intersectional nature of women’s needs, in all their diversity, in order for these to be addressed and mainstreamed into all policies and all aspects of socio-political and economic life, and we politically advocate for a dual approach combining specific measures for women’s rights and thorough transformative gender mainstreaming. In our work we will also insist on critically challenging culturally inherited gender stereotypes, and the images detrimental to gender equality between women and men we are confronted with in different ways on a daily basis, and make political interventions as relevant.

The EWL works within a human rights framework for women. The abuse and violation of women’s human rights forms part of a world-wide pattern within which the systematic oppression of women is obvious regardless of culture, religion, social background, ethnicity, levels of education, etc. Despite the wide differences amongst women and where they are placed, there is also a sharp element of commonality that goes beyond national, economic, and social boundaries. Indeed, despite many assertions to the contrary, human rights violations are very present within the European Union and thus we will participate in established European level groups working to promote human rights as necessary, contribute to the relevant human rights reports drafted by the European Institutions, monitor EU policies regarding human rights issues, and ensure a systematic inclusion of a gender equality perspective in EU human rights instruments and policies as appropriate.

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