EWL News

Joanna Maycock, feminist anti-poverty activist leads European Women’s Lobby

The European Women’s Lobby is delighted to welcome Joanna Maycock this week in her position as Secretary General.

Development world

Joanna succeeds Pierrette Pape, who has successfully undertaken the role as acting coordinator since February. Pierrette will continue as EWL Policy Officer and Project Coordinator working on violence against women, sexual rights and prostitution and leading the work of the EWL at United Nations level.

Joanna Maycock has 20 years’ professional experience in senior leadership and governance positions in the European and International Development NGO sector.

For the past 12 years, she has worked in Brussels for ActionAid a global Federation working for a world free from poverty and injustice. Her most recent role at ActionAid was as Director for Country Coordination, and Head of Europe, and she is also a long-time board member and current President of CONCORD, the European Confederation of Development NGOs. Joanna also has an extensive experience working for migrant women’s rights at the International Organization for Migration.

A networking feminist

Joanna: “I believe the only way to achieve an end to poverty, inequality and injustice is through building effective movements for collective action and campaigning for social change. For me the fight for women’s rights and gender equality has always been at the centre of any struggle for equality and justice, and I have always used my leadership to integrate and give voice to the struggle for gender justice within my previous roles".


The European Women’s Lobby will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, and 2015 also sees the 20th anniversary of the UN’s landmark Beijing Platform Action, which is considered worldwide as a visionary blueprint for advancing women’s rights.

Joanna: “I have been an admirer of the work of the EWL for many years. Particularly at this turbulent moment in time there are both huge opportunities and persistent challenges to achieving gender equality”.

“The Lobby and its members have achieved an substantial progress for the advancement of women’s rights in Europe. The EWL has had an influence on EU policies, from anti-discrimination in the labour market, the Women on Board’s directive, the Istanbul Convention on violence against women to gender sensitive migration and asylum policies".

“The challenge of leading the European Women’s Lobby to be an increasingly powerful force in defending and fighting for women’s rights is exciting. I am driven by the energy of a new generation of young feminists, while continuing to connect with previous generations of activists. The European Women’s Lobby will strive for an inclusive feminist identity, striving for the inclusion and participation of LGBTI, disabled and minority communities. More than ever there is a need for solidarity within and amongst progressive social movements fighting for human rights, and for environmental and social justice in Europe and at global level."

EU elections

One of the first challenges for the new Secretary General will be the outcome of the European elections. With its 50/50 campaign and manifesto the EWL has demanded attention for gender equality and equal representation, but our recent gender audit showed that genuine commitment to women’s rights is not a given in all European party manifestos. Next week we will be producing some further analysis of the results.

Viviane Teitelbaum, President of the European Women’s Lobby is very pleased with the new incoming Secretary General. “Joanna will bring new dynamism to the European women’s movement and will continue to strive, together with all the members, for a truly gender equal Europe".

Latest video

EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

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