Press releases

From words to action: women can’t wait 20 more years to enjoy their full human rights

[Lisbon, 10 October 2014] Today, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) launched its report “1995-2015: From Words to Action” which assesses the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in Europe, 20 years after its adoption by the international community. The launch of EWL Beijing+20 report took place in the context of the Annual Meeting of the European Women’s Lobby, the largest umbrella organisation for women’s rights in Europe.

Adopted two years after the 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, the Beijing Platform for Action aimed to bring into light the structural inequalities and human rights violations faced by all women and girls on the planet, and setting the ground for concrete action to realise de jure and de facto equality between women and men. The report of the European Women’s Lobby provides a picture of the situation of women and girls in the European Union (EU), based on the collective assessment of its 2000 member organisations.

EWL President Viviane Teitelbaum said: “20 years later, much has been achieved, but much remains to be done. While we should be celebrating the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, our report shows that women and girls still face inequality, violence, discrimination and insecurity. Women and girls can’t wait 20 more years to enjoy their full human rights.”

Hosted by the Lisbon Municipality, the event gathered strong statements from: Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; Portuguese Secretary of State of Parliamentary Affairs and Equality Teresa Morais; representatives of the Italian Presidency of the EU; Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality Virginija Langbakk; and Member of the European Parliament Ana Gomes.

The celebration of Beijing+20 comes at a strategic time for the women’s movement and the EU policies on gender equality. In 2015, a new international framework for development will be adopted, with new Sustainable Development Goals, amongst which women’s rights and gender equality will be the subject of a standalone goal. At EU level, a new strategy for gender equality needs to be adopted from 2016 on.

“The European Union, as part of the international community, is at a turning policy point: it must choose to lead the way towards a gender equal and sustainable future. Investing in women’s rights and empowerment is the core commitment for a more sustainable, democratic and inclusive world to evolve. We call on the future EU Commissioner for Gender Equality to build on the recommendations outlined in our Beijing+20 report to develop an ambitious new strategy for all women and girls in Europe to enjoy their full human rights” , said EWL Secretary General Joanna Maycock.

For more information, interviews, background or visual materials, please contact Elvira Buijink, Communications and Media Officer, European Women’s Lobby; Tel: +32 2 210 04 40;, and see

For interviews in Lisbon, contact Elvira Buijink, 0032 496 86 48 26, or Pierrette Pape, 0032 486 39 17 17.

Note to editors:

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union (EU), working to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men. EWL membership extends to organisations in all 28 EU Member States and three of the candidate countries, as well as to 21 European-wide organisations, representing a total of more than 2000 associations.

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