Key European and national women decision makers met in Brussels on 16th September at the invitation of the European Women’s Lobby for the launch event of the Campaign “50/50 No Modern European Democracy without Gender Equality”.
During the event, Bibiana Aido, Spanish Minister for Equality stressed the need to correct structural inequalities between women and men: “We have to take into account that we come from different places: men have been socialised to take power, but women have been socialised not to take power!”
Asked whether more women in politics would make a difference, MEP Zita Gurmai (Hungary) answered: “Of course! I strongly believe that gender balance could make a difference, including in the type of politics and the subjects that are tackled, as men and women have complementary qualities in approaching subjects.”
Speakers also discussed what they intended to do to change the situation. Emma Bonino, Vice President of the Italian Senate stated: “I don’t think there is any miracle solution, but we need to start with political parties, challenge them and go vocal before they make their lists for the European elections”.
Diana Wallis, Vice President of the European Parliament added: “We need symbols at the top of Europe to encourage the participation of more women. The idea is that there will be 4 top posts to be nominated at European level next year, at least 2 of those should be to women.” In her supporting message, French Minister for Solidarity Valérie Létard also stressed: “When making their nominations for the European Commission, Member States should put forward more women”.
Kirsti Kolthoff, President of the European Women’s Lobby concluded: “Our Campaign aims at improving democracy and our members across Europe will be active to have our voice heard at different levels until the European elections. We want to reach parity in numbers, but we also want to make sure that the issues that matter to people, including equality, social justice and sustainable development are at the core of European politics”.
While closing the event, Margot Wallström, European Commission Vice President stated “I was delighted to attend the launch of the EWL campaign and I fully endorse its objectives. There can indeed be no real European democracy if the make-up of our society is not reflected in the composition of our decision-makers”.
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