EUROPEAN UNION Elections 2024 – European Women’s Lobby urges newly elected MEPs to safeguard women’s rights amid rising far-right influence in member states

The EuroParl_EN has adopted the first-ever EU Directive to combat #VAW

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) calls on newly elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to champion women’s rights and uphold the European project for peace, democracy, inclusion, equality, and solidarity.

The EWL is relieved that democracy has prevailed and the EPP-SD-RE governing coalition secured a majority in the European Parliament (EP) with over 400 seats expected. This constitutes an encouraging basis to continue working on advancing women’s rights.

Yet, the EWL remains concerned to see the growing support for far-right parties in the European Member States, such as France, Austria and Italy. “Far-right parties have been at the forefront of attacks against women’s rights and gender equality in Member States. It is crucial for all EU stakeholders to remain vigilant and actively counter these threats. The EU must continue upholding and advancing the rights of all its citizens, including those of all women in Europe,” said Iliana Balabanova, EWL President.

The EWL reminds MEPs of the EU’s legal obligation to ensure gender equality and calls for unity in safeguarding and advancing women’s rights across the EU. We would like to emphasise that the representation of women in the EP is vital for democracy. The EWL will monitor the proportion of women MEPs elected; a decreased representation would be an extremely alarming signal.

In the previous mandate, progressive women leaders secured important legislation for women’s rights and equality between women and men. “We stress the need for equal representation and participation of women MEPs in all and as Chairs of EP Committees and legislative work, including in traditionally male-dominated areas such as trade, budget, economy, and constitutional affairs,” said Mary Collins, EWL Secretary General.

The EWL will continue to share expertise with decision-makers and work towards a feminist Europe. As crucial decisions for the future of the EU will be made in the coming weeks, the EWL calls on leaders in the EU and Member States to:

– Ensure that women are equally represented at the European institutions’ top jobs;

– Appoint a Commissioner for Equality with a portfolio including women’s rights and gender equality;

– Establish a formal EU Council configuration on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality;

– Ensure equal representation of women and men in the future College during the parliamentary vetting process of candidate commissioners;

– Renew the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 with a dedicated budget;

– Appoint an EU Coordinator for ending all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls, ensuring coherence in implementing various legislative instruments;
– Support a strong mandate for the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) and the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA).

Europe is at a crossroads. Protecting fundamental rights, especially women’s human rights, is more important than ever. We call on all stakeholders to embrace their responsibility in creating a Union of Equality and a Feminist Europe. We invite MEPs to demonstrate their commitment by signing our pledge and working towards a future where equality between women and men is truly realised.

SOURCE: European Women’s Lobby, EWL News, 10 June 2024 ; VISUAL: @EuropeanWomen, 24 April 2024