Posted on 11 June 2010
The origins of the European Women’s Lobby can be traced back to a conference held in London in November 1987. At this conference, 120 women, members of 85 organisations and representing 50 million individual members, came together and adopted two resolutions. The first called for the ‘creation of a structure for influence, open to all interested women’s organisations, to exert pressure on European and national institutions to ensure better defence and representation of women’s interest’. In a second resolution, the delegates called on the European Commission to ‘lend its support for the organisation in early 1988 of a meeting with a view to the implementation of such a structure’.
In 1990, the European Commission granted its support for the foundation of the European Women’s Lobby, with a Secretariat based Brussels, the location of the main European Union institutions. The EWL’s founding members were the national coordinating organisations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well as 17 large European-wide women’s organisations.
The European Women’s Lobby was created in response to a growing awareness of the need to defend women’s interests at European level since :
The creation of EWL was therefore linked to the creation of a new form of public space at European level and a new form of interaction between citizens and political officials. The EWL’s activities meet two types of needs :
The EWL thus plays a dual role as a link between women’s organisations and institutions. The EWL facilitates dialogue and exchanges between citizens and European decision-makers. Because of its advisory status in both the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the Council of Europe, the EWL plays an instrumental role at the international level.