EWL News

Encouraging signals from Commissioners-designate Thyssen and Jourová. Now: from words to action.

[Brussels, 1 October 2014] Today Commissioners-designate Thyssen (Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility) and Jourová (Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality) were ‘grilled’ in Brussels during their hearings by Members of the European Parliament.

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) previously welcomed the appointment of Věra Jourová, Commissioner-designate for Justice, Consumers & Gender Equality while “Gender Equality” was explicitly acknowledged in her title; a strong political statement and one of the demands of the EWL’s Manifesto for the European Parliamentary elections of May.

Today, both Ms. Thyssen and Ms. Jourová sent encouraging signs. Ms Jourová stressed her commitment to renew and strengthen the EU Strategy for Equality between Women and Men and aims to put the Women on Boards Directive back on the agenda with a view to its adoption in 2015. On the topic of violence against women, Ms. Jourová agrees with the EWL that the Istanbul Convention must be ratified by all Member States and by the European Commission as an entity. Furthermore, she mentioned the worrying feminisation of poverty and supports a stand-alone gender equality goal in the post-2015 sustainable development goals. Her willingness to cooperate with key EU-Commissioners is essential to promote women’s rights in every aspect of EU policies. In particular, her commitment to work hand-with-hand with Ms. Georgieva (Budget and Human Resources) is essential to ensure that the EU budget respects and promotes equality between women and men.

Both Ms. Jourová and Ms. Thyssen, who explicitly called herself a feminist, expressed their commitment to work together to negotiate with the Member States and unblock the proposed Maternity Leave Directive. EWL also welcomes plans by Ms. Thyssen to give the necessary impetus to promote women’s employment and tackle the gender pay and pensions gaps.

Since its creation, the EU has been a promoter of equality between women and men; the principle of equal pay was written in the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The EWL and its 2000 member organisations hope that the words spoken by Ms. Jourová and Ms. Thyssen will turn this 60-year old European dream into reality.

EWL Secretary General Joanna Maycock: “We look forward to setting up a regular dialogue with both Commissioners to develop practical and constructive proposals for women’s rights without leaving a single girl or woman behind. We also hope to convince the Commissioners of the need to introduce specific measures that ensure a 50/50 European Commission, with an equal representation of women and men.”

Photo - European Parliament. Commissioner-designate Jourová.

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