EWL News

Passionate political discussions in EWL working group on women in politics

[Brussels, contribution by Katerina Hodicka, Czech Women’s Lobby, 19 June 2017] During the European Women’s Forum in the beginning of June more than 20 women representing various European Women’s Lobby member organisations gathered within the Working Group on Women in Politics to discuss inter alia current political developments on our European continent and the role of women in them.

Representatives of countries where elections (whether presidential, parliamentary or municipal) have recently taken place acquainted others with key features of elections and their results.

E.g. elections in the U.K. have brought to light the importance of engaging young voters (both female and male). A surprising 72 % of young voters cast their vote in the parliamentary elections two days ago which can be attributed to the ability of Labour Party representatives to speak the language of young people. Moreover the Labour Party was able to embrace in its political agenda topics that concern this age group.

Or in the case of Austrian presidential elections in December 2016 women´s votes proved to be decisive and brought the candidate of the Green Party Alexander Van der Bellen to the presidential post.

When the Macedonian delegate to the working group depicted an attempt at coup d´état in her home country parliament, most of group participants remained petrified. A moment later an atmosphere of awe and apprehension was relieved by the description of a parliamentary life in Malta where members of parliament meet only in evening sessions as they are more or less political volunteers having other proper full time jobs.

An active Belgian politician Viviane Teitelbaum representing French-speaking Liberals and a former EWL president joined the working group for a one-hour long discussion on women in politics. In a reference to French presidential elections and first steps made by the new French president Emmanuel Macron, Viviane emphasized a crucial difference between parity and equality. It is not enough to have the same number of women and men in government.

Viviane made crystal clear that while striving for a 50:50 representation, we should also pay attention to the quality of female candidates from a feminist perspective. Last but not least she pointed at the importance of quotas for bringing more women to political positions.

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