EWL News

The movement is stronger than ever: after the Strikes: what next?

Brussels, March 11, 2019
European Women’s Lobby staff and members have participated in and organised women’s International Women’s Day events throughout the EU, around Brussels and other major cities in Europe. We spoke, marched, and strike to get more women in the European Parliament, abolish the sexual exploitation of women, making the digital, social and physical sphere safe for women and girls, end objectification and realise equality and lots more.
These vigils, demonstrations, discussions, events and marches took place as part of a global response to threats to women’s rights in Europe, the US and globally. We took to the streets to raise awareness about the denial of women’s human rights, about the continuing economic and social inequality women face, about the marginalisation and silencing of women’s voices, and we mobilised to mark our outrage about the continuing intolerable levels of violence against women. We resisted as women in all our diversity across class, ethnicity, migration, ability and age status.

International Women’s Day March

The alarming rise of populist, racist, homophobic and sexist political movements in the US, across Europe and throughout the world, and we know this can only be resisted by a mass mobilisation, active resistance of citizens, and most especially by women.

These momentum marked yet another important milestone in the long history of feminist activism. We are excited to see a renewed vigour in women’s activism, to see women in great numbers stand up for their right to equal existence. We are inspired to see so much creativity, energy, humour and agency amongst the movement- including thousands of women who have never publicly risen up for women’s rights before, alongside many thousands who have made this struggle their life’s work.
We believe, as a society, every day we have the power to make change happen! Every day we have to shift the power dynamics that cause conflict, exploitation and structural violence against women and girls. Every day we want those with political, institutional, and economic power to lift the voices of those marginalised to create a better European Union, a better Europe and a better world for all women and girls.

Therefore, the question arises about how we build from that momentum to drive real concrete change. How to direct the energy generated from our collective rage and frustration into building strategic campaigns, actions and connecting struggles and movements, especially in anticipation for the European Parliamentary elections?

Photo: Elena Fidanska
Photo: Elena Fidanska

Why do we need to vote for a feminist Europe?

There is evidence that gender equality is a vital part of the human rights agenda.
Studies have shown that increased representation of women in elected office can reduce both petty and grand corruption. Women in elected office reduce petty corruption in their efforts to improve public service delivery and improve the livelihood of women and every marginalised group.
Heterogeneous as women are in their diversity, improving public services and breaking up male-dominated corrupt networks are often times part of their core political agenda. Find the report here

Obviously, there are many very specific targeted actions for those people and organisations across the globe to undertake.
Here are some thoughts about what you as European women, a women’s rights activist new and old can consider. Maybe you have other ideas to suggest – we would love to hear from you!

Here are ten things you can do:

1. Register to vote in the European Parliamentary election (https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/residence/elections-abroad/european-elections/index_en.htm )
2. Vote for women with a feminist agenda that truly care about women’s rights and livelihood.
3. Learn about what the EU does for women and what it could improve
4. Campaign and mobilise for women candidate running for elections
5. Spread the word and encourage your friends, family, coworkers etc to vote for a feminist Europe.
6. Sign our petition here.
7. Reach out to your candidates to push them to sign our pledge. Read our manifesto
8. Support the tireless work of women’s organisations, for example by making a donation to the European Women’s Lobby here

9. Engage in your local feminist discourse around the election and associations online and offline. Join us on Instagram and Twitter to engage with our discussion

10. Organise a listening circle/conversation amongst women in your community breaking down barriers and engaging in listening to issues and concerns of women around you: in your workplace; in your sector; in your school; in your village.

Main image credit: Marianna Tuokkola

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Loud and United to end violence against women and girls, European Women’s Lobby Conference, 6 December 2017, Brussels.

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