European Women’s Voice: Austerity


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The common positions of the EWL membership set the agenda and the EWL line for all our policy work.


Position Paper "Tackling multiple discrimination of Romani and Traveller Women- a crucial factor for the successful implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies" (2012)

Posted on 21 January 2013

[Brussels, 09 January 2013] The European Women’s Lobby is pleased to share with you our newly adopted Position Paper that focuses on the experience of Romani and Traveller women who are often exposed to multiple and intersectional discrimination on grounds of gender and ethnic origin and have limited access to employment, education, health, social services and decision-making.

Despite the adoption of a European Parliament Report in 2006 on the situation of Roma Women and “10 Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion” by the Council of the European Union in which one of the principles relates to gender awareness, the vulnerable situation of Romani and Traveller women has, in practice, remained unaddressed by European and national policy-makers. The EWL Position Paper aims in this context to highlight recommendations for European and national decision-makers in order for public policies, especially National Roma Integration Strategies, related to both Romani people and to gender equality in general, to fully address women’s rights and needs.

We encourage all stakeholders to use this position paper in their work and hope it will contribute to improve the situation and fight against the discrimination faced by Roma and Traveller women across Europe.

For more information about our work on this issue, please contact: Amandine Bach,

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Towards a Europe Free from All Forms of Male Violence against Women (December 2010)

Posted on 21 December 2010

Prepared by the EWL Centre on Violence against Women

‘Women’s lives rest upon a continuum of unsafety. Wherever women are, their peripheral vision monitors the landscape and those around them for potential danger. As all women reach adulthood, they share a common awareness of their particular vulnerability. Learning the strategies for survival is a continuous lesson about what it means to be female.’

Despite progress over the last decades on many aspects related to equality between women and men, there is not a single country in the world where women are free from male violence, and there is not a single area in any woman’s life where she is not exposed to the threat or realisation of acts of male violence. Male violence against women knows no geographical boundaries, no age limit, no class distinctions, no race nor cultural differences. It manifests itself in multiple forms and involves a wide variety of perpetrators from intimate partners and family members, work colleagues and social or community acquaintances, to strangers and institutional actors such as police, health professionals, teachers and soldiers. Yet male violence against women is still invisible and the voices of women victims silenced...

This position paper constitutes the basis for the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) and its members to develop advocacy work on the issue of male violence against women at European and national level. It highlights the EWL position on the issue and presents its recommendations towards a Europe free form all forms of male violence against women.


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Women’s Health in the EU (June 2010)

Posted on 30 July 2010

Social and medical research indicates that sex and gender impact differently on women’s and men’s health, access to health and health care. Unequal access to resources coupled with other social factors produce inequitable health risks and access to health information, care, and services for women and men. In addition, biological differences imply that women have particular health concerns and needs, especially related to sexual and reproductive health. Despite this, women’s health needs and gender-related aspects are not fully and consistently integrated into health policies, research and practice at all levels.

In June 2010, the EWL adopted a position paper on women’s health in the EU. This is document is the result of a consultation process of EWL members and presents recommendations for the full integration of women’s needs and situation in all aspects of health policies at national and European level.

The EWL paper looks a the gender dimension of women’s health, it highlights women’s health risks and needs and the particular barriers and inequalities women face, taking into account the specific situation of different groups of women. The position papers argues for the need of a dual approach of specific measures for women and gender mainstreaming in health policies and presents recommendations for the European Union and its members states.


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Gender and Conflict - Towards Human Security: Engendering Peace (October 2009)

Posted on 30 October 2009

‘We thought that when we had peace we would get equality but now we’ve realised that until we get equality we won’t have peace.’ (Palestinian woman)

Feminist theory teaches us conflicts, wars and militarism are gendered processes. They use, maintain and often promote the ideological construction of gender in the definitions of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ and of course have disproportional impact on women and children, particularly the girl child. In effect, what that means is that men go to war to defend national/state values, territories, and borders and protect and defend their ‘own’ women and children. Women are regarded as ‘the protected’ and ‘the defended’ which inevitably means women having to ‘survive the violence’ and ‘patch and mend the war-torn societies’ instead of their equal participation in contributing to the democratic development, enforcement of rights and justice, and creating human security for all.


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Engendering the Lisbon Strategy: for Growth, Jobs and Social Inclusion (March 2008)

Posted on 3 March 2008

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) wishes to highlight some of the discrepancies in the Lisbon Strategy as the core EU socio-economic political framework, and in so doing demonstrate that the EU’s falls short of its Treaty commitments to promote true equality between women and men.

In light of the crucial importance of the Lisbon Strategy on Growth and Jobs as a generator of social well-being (Jobs and Social Inclusion) and economic competitiveness (Growth), there is an urgent need to first gender mainstream the whole process and not only in areas where the social dimension is stated, namely in the employment guidelines and second to rename the Strategy to include the objective of social inclusion. Gender is a fundamental structuring element and when interrelated with other factors, such as ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, etc., inequality is exacerbated. While the main growth in job creation in Europe has benefited women and the 60% employment rate for women by 2010 is on its way to meeting the EU target, albeit within varying degrees in different Member States, the nature of jobs created and working patterns have not led to achieving equality between women and men. Gender scrutiny is called for as women do not form a homogeneous group and the diversity of women’s and men’s lives require firm and strengthened measures of gender mainstreaming and specific measures in order to identify and correct persistent barriers to gender equality. Since the launching of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000 and the revision in 2005, other issues have emerged as key priorities, namely flexicurity, which impact upon women’s equal rights to employment and more importantly equal rights between women and men in a broader socio-economic context in light of demographic changes. Some issues that have been identified as priorities will be expanded upon in this contribution, namely, the Integrated Guidelines, principles of flexicurity, reconciliation of professional, family and private life, women’s poverty and the need for an integrative approach with other socio-economic policies.


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Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (February 2008)

Posted on 3 February 2008

Access to resources, rights and power are still unequally distributed between women and men in all societies. This unequal distribution of wealth, power and quality of life is more favourable to men than to women in nearly all areas of life. Less than 2 percent of all land worldwide is owned by women, the average percentage of women in parliaments across the world is 14.5% (23% within the EU), and women on average earn 85% of men’s hourly earnings for the same job with the same qualification in the EU.

All public policies play a role in contributing to the important political, economic and social goal of achieving equality between women and men. In particular a government’s decision about how money is raised, through a range of different taxation measures, and how money is spent, for example on public services like health and housing or investment in road building, can either widen or diminish the gap between the situation of women and men in society. Likewise, funders’ decisions about which programmes and projects they are willing to finance, or about what percentage of funding they dedicate to gender issues and to women’s organisations may determine whether women have the chance to put gender on the agenda.

Financial decisions are not only about figures, they transform political priorities and commitments into practical measures and represent the vision, aim and principles of a state or institution. In working to achieve a more equal society it is therefore important to question if a commitment to gender equality is taken into account when decisions are made by governments, by intergovernmental institutions and by funders about how money is raised and spent. The commitments made to equality between women and men must be visible in the way resources are collected and spent.


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50 years of European Gender Equality Legislation: Implement Gender Justice Now! (February 2007)

Posted on 3 February 2007

Despite 50 years of European, legislation and policy development on equality between women and men, there is an implementation gap regarding economic, political and social equality between women and men. The European Women’s Lobby (EWL), presenting its Statement to the Spring Council 2007, stresses that the equal enjoyment of social and economic rights between women and men is an indicator for progress towards social justice, enjoying human rights, and eliminating poverty in Europe. In 2007, the European Year on Equal Opportunities for All, gaps between women and men persist in most categories of human political, economic, social and cultural activity. These gaps need to be closed if Europe is to deliver its promises in terms of equality and human rights.

The Treaty of Rome established in 1957 the principle of equal pay for equal work. Since then, European legislation has expanded on women’s rights, and the promotion of equality between women and men is now one of the missions of the European Union. In 2006, the EU Spring Council adopted a Gender Pact, and the Commission adopted a new Road Map for Equality between Women and Men 2006-2010. However, a “year of delivery” of the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs shows lack of awareness of such commitments, as the majority of the Member States Implementation Reports related to the Lisbon Strategy do not refer to specific measures aimed at promoting women’s employment or reducing gender gaps, and evidence of gender evaluation of policies is very rare in the 2006 National Reform Programme implementation reports. Few Member States report on progress towards the European childcare target set during the Barcelona Council in 2002, and overall progress towards this target remains slow.


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Elimination of all forms of Discrimination and Violence against the Girl Child (February 2007)

Posted on 3 February 2007

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) welcomes the fact that the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in its 51st session will review implementation of policies and actions taken to address the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child. It also welcomes the revision of the agreed conclusions reached at the 48th session on the “Role of boys and men in achieving gender equality”, as this is very relevant to the issue of achieving equality in the early stages of women’s life cycle, namely in girlhood.

EWL is submitting this contribution to the German Presidency acting on behalf of the European Union in negotiating the outcome document/agreed conclusions of the 51st session. This contribution has been drafted in consultation with member organisations and reflects the expectations of European women’s NGOs in relation to the EU in order to address issues relating to the girl child. Therefore, the purpose of this document is to provide recommendations on issues relating to the girl child that have been identified by EWL as priorities both in terms of the CSW outcome document and within the context of the EU itself. The EWL delegation attending the CSW is also prepared to work with the EU Presidency on the text of the outcome document during the 51st session in New York.


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Care (May 2006)

Posted on 30 May 2006

At the EWL Board of Administration meeting in May 2006, the European Women’s Lobby officially launched its "Who Cares?" campaign with the adoption of a Position Paper. This position paper focuses on the provision of affordable, accessible and high quality care services for all dependents, available to all women and men whatever their financial situation. Themes of the EWL Care Campaign include: Gender Stereotypes and Care, the Economics of Care: Provision of Affordable Care Services, Quality Work and Quality Care Services: Care and the Labour Market, the Case of Domestic Migrant Care Workers, and finally European Union Policies and Care. During the Care Campaign, an e-petition will be launched on the EWL website.

Care policies and the provision of care services are intrinsically related to the achievement of equality between women and men. The lack of affordable, accessible and high quality care services in most European Union countries and the fact that care work is not equally shared between women and men have a direct negative impact on women’s ability to participate in all aspects of social, economic, cultural and political life.

One prerequisite to achieve equality between women and men is for women to be economically independent. Many women’s personal goals include work and careers as well as being mothers, being in families and sustaining intimate relationships – but women have not had a major part in directly influencing the present political, social and economic systems which have shaped traditional gender roles and stereotypes, and which systematically obscure and undervalue the central importance of care in all of our lives. Women are particularly at risk of experiencing inequalities in employment directly because of their caring activities. Caring activities impact on women’s participation in working life, career advancement, the ability to work full-time, together with their ability for life-course integration into the labour market. The European Women’s Lobby is therefore launching a specific campaign on the provision of care services for children, older people and other dependents in Europe. Giving women better opportunities in professional life has to be seen as an asset an investment for society as a whole, especially in the context of current demographic changes and challenges in Europe.


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Religion and Women’s Human Rights (May 2006)

Posted on 3 May 2006

EWL’s mission is to work together to achieve equality between women and men, to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, to ensure respect for women’s human rights and to eradicate violence against women. Hence EWL documents ways in which the achievement of these goals is impeded by any trends and calls for changes that will remove barriers to their achievement. In particular, concerns expressed by EWL members about a perceived stronger influence on governments of religious argumentation with respect to women’s role and gender equality has led to this position paper.

Our task is to continue to name, expose and condemn those practices that violate women’s rights and silence women’s voices wherever they may be. EWL refers to those areas in which cultural and religious practices and in some instances, legal practices, continue systematically to discriminate against women and the girl child either directly or indirectly, excluding them from public and political life, denying them equal rights to economic independence, including in marriage, divorce and inheritance and denying women’s rights to autonomy in matters of sexual and reproductive choice and health. All of these practices should be named for what they are, i.e. violations of women’s human rights and should never be placed within a cultural context that at the end of the day conceals the reality under a cultural mask. In the face of this, the challenge is great but not insurmountable.


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