EWL News

Countdown towards the European elections: are the European political parties committed to gender equality?

[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:

  • a comprehensive framework to achieve gender equality through notably the establishment of an EU Coordinator on women’s rights and gender equality;
  • sustainable funding for gender equality;
  • credible EU policies on gender equality at international level.

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:

  • Women’s economic independence;
  • A Europe free from violence;
  • Parity Democracy;
  • Diverse in Equality
  • Caring society

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!

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