European & International News

We are 52% of society but far from being equally represented

[Brussels, 17 December 2013] The conference on Women in Politics and Public Life at EU level, hosted by the Maltese MEP Claudette Abela Baldacchino, pointed out that "a modern and genuine democracy requires gender equality” and that “there is an urgent need for all stakeholders to bring about concrete change.”

This opinion of MEP Claudette Abela Baldacchino was shared by the distinguished panelists supporting gender equality in the European Union among whom were MEP Zita Gurmai, MEP Marc Tarabella, Carmen Sammut (Senior Lecturer at the University of Malta), Lorraine Spiteri (Chairperson of Maltas Confederation of Women’s Organisations) and Serap Altinisik (Policy Officer and Fundraising Coordinator and the European Women’s Lobby). This reflection could be found as well in the video messages by Viviane Reding (Vice-President of the European Commission) and MEP Michael Cashman presented during the conference.

MEP Zita Gurmai underlined the missing equal representation of women in Europe: even though we represent more than half of society, we continue to be tremendously underrepresented in public life and decision-making processes. Talking about the current situation inside the European Parliament (where only 35% of the MEPs are female) and the importance of the EWL 50/50 campaign she said: “Ideally we should go for 52%, as we are 52% of society. But I have to be realistic, so I say 50%.”

But the conference did not only look at the situation at European level, but focused as well on the situation in Malta. This country remains the country with the lowest female participation in the labour market in Europe.

EWL’s Policy Officer and Fundraising Coordinator Serap Altinisik was invited as a speaker and presented the 50/50 campaign and the EWLs views on women in decision-making. She underlined the importance of the campaign in demanding the European political parties to promote and ensure equal representation of women and men in their decision-making bodies and to promote women candidates for decision-making positions in the European Parliament and called the participants to support this cause by signing the Joint Declaration.

The EWL would like to thank MEP Claudette Abela Baldacchino for her commitment for women’s rights and gender equality, for her support of our 50/50 campaign and for the possibility to present this campaign at this occasion. Ahead of the European elections we will continue to do our utmost to fight for gender equality.

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