[Brussels 20 June 2018] Last week Gwendoline Lefebvre was elected as our new President for the period 2018 to 2020, succeeding Edith Schratzberger-Vecsei from the Medical Women’s International Association. Lefebvre works in the private sector as a market research manager and holds a mandate as Deputy Mayor in the 9th district of the City Lyon in charge of equality between women and men, citizen’s rights and the fight against discrimination and people with a disability. She has been a Board Member of the EWL since May 2016 representing the French national women’s rights coordination, the Coordination Française pour le Lobby Européen des Femmes.
She has worked on numerous gender equality issues – ending violence against women, women’s poverty and precariousness, sexist stereotypes, lack of space for women in the public sphere,… - from a local, national, European and international point of view, especially for Femmes solidaires, a big feminist NGO in France. Femmes solidaires is a member of EWL French coordination since its creation, was founded in 1945 and has a consultative status in the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2004. It is a French network of 190 local organisations and has 10,000 members. Lefebvre is also a volunteer writer for the French feminist Clara magazine.
In her speech addressing the newly elected Board members, she focused on the following key issues.
Solidarity and sisterhood
“As feminists, we will have to face many challenges in the next months and years. Nationalists who want to divide Europeans, extremists and populists who want to keep women at home. If we want to be one of their strong opponents and show that our feminist and progressive agenda is the best way for women to have a better life, we need solidarity and sisterhood among us.”
Development of our Movement
“I really think that we have several tools and ideas, such as our member’s engagement strategy, grow our movement. We need to work on how we can be more diverse and inclusive to all women, how we propose and develop spaces where women of our coordination’s, associations and members can meet, participate, exchange. To do that we need more funding and more resources.”
“To grow and achieve its several goals, the EWL needs the Executive, the Board, the Secretariat and all the members to be involved. Together we are and we will be strong. All the victories of women’s rights activists are linked to collective actions. I am sure that if we continue to work hard together we will have other victories. It gives me hope for the future: for the EWL, for gender equality, for women’s rights in Europe and in the world.”
Lefebvre will lead EWL’s Executive Committee comprised of Vice-Presidents Laura Albu from the Romanian Women’s Lobby and Ana Sofia Fernandes from the Plataforma Portuguesa para os Direitos das Mulheres (PPDM), Treasurer Annelies Pierrot-Bults from the University Women Europe (UWE) and also Pirkko Mahlamäki from the European Disability Forum (EDF), Pauline Mukanza from the European YWCA and Anna Zobnina from the European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW).