EWL News

EWL welcomes new full member from Iceland during Board Meeting in Vilnius

[Brussels, 26 February 2019] EWL members and staff recently gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, to join the European Institute for General Equality (EIGE) annual consultation meeting with civil society organisations and attend EWL’s bi-annual Board Meeting, where the Board of EWL voted to welcome the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association as a new member to EWL.

The event with EIGE, now in its third edition, took place on 30 and 31 January. It brought together representatives from EWL, Social Platform, Men Engage Europe Network and the European Economic and Social Committee to exchange information with EIGE and explore cooperation on future work.

Following the EIGE event, the Board of EWL, gathering 40 members from all over Europe, held its bi-annual meeting on 1 and 2 February. One of the items on our busy agenda was the application from the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association (Kvenréttindafélag Íslands) to join EWL as a new full member organisation. The Board overwhelmingly voted to welcome the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association (IRWA) as the National Coordination of EWL in Iceland. The IRWA has been active in the Icelandic women’s movement for over 110 years, working to advance women’s rights and the equal status of women and men in all areas of society in Iceland.

On IRWA joining the EWL, our President Gwendoline Lefebvre said: “We are thrilled to have the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association as our National Coordination in Iceland and they join us with a long history of feminism and women’s rights activism. It’s great to see our membership extend to new countries, including those that are part of the European Free Trade Association. We believe that we are stronger as a European women’s rights movement by working together in sisterhood and learning from each other. We know that the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association will make vital contributions to our collective work in Europe and we are excited to be working together to build a feminist Europe.”

Fríða Rós Valdimarsdóttir, the Chair of Icelandic Women’s Rights Association (Kvenréttindafélag Íslands), said: “Since the days of the suffragettes, the women’s movement in Iceland has relied on the support of a vibrant international alliance of women. We are a small island in the middle of the Atlantic, but we are not an isolated nation. Inspiration and ideas from our feminist sisters abroad have been invaluable in our struggle for equal rights. The solidarity of women in Iceland is strong and has been fundamental to the social changes which have taken place in recent years. We are very excited to join the European Women’s Lobby, to work together for an equal future. With a mass movement of women and cross-cultural solidarity, we can effect real social change in Europe!”

During the Board Meeting in Vilnius, EWL members also had a chance to exchange and debate on a number of key issues. We heard from all Board Members about the priorities for women’s rights in their national context or areas of work. We spent time on planning our upcoming strategic review, which will look back at the progress of EWL’s strategy Together for a Feminist Europe 2016-2020. We discussed how the review aims to highlight what has been achieved since the Strategy started, and also identify what more needs to be done during the remaining year of this Strategy period. We presented our 50/50 campaign: Women for Europe – Europe for Women, for the upcoming European Elections and discussed members’ activities at national level for the campaign. We also welcomed two young women who participated in EWL’s feminist summer camp, the AGORA, in 2018, to hear about their experience of the event. This was followed by a discussion about the future of EWL’s strategic engagement with young women at national and European level. There were many other topics discussed throughout the one and half day meeting, including EWL’s funding plans, the work of EWL’s inclusion, diversity and equality Committee and our Statutes and Internal Rules. Members and staff also had a chance to meet and exchange outside of the Board meeting, over dinner, coffees and more.

Our next Board Meeting takes place in Brussels, just before the start of our annual European Women’s Forum, which includes our General Assembly and a number of exciting events, from 6 to 9 June 2019.

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