About the EWL 50/50 Campaign

The “50/50 Campaign for Democracy” led by the European Women’s Lobby seeks to ensure the equal representation of women and men in the European Parliament to be elected in June 2009 and in the upcoming European Commission.

The Campaign is endorsed by prominent personalities across Europe such as President and Vice President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and Margot Wallström, Nobel Price winner Orhan Pamuk, Prime Minister of Belgium Yves Leterme, Slovenian President Danilo Türk, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson and former President of the European Parliament Simone Veil. The Campaign will run from 16th September 2008 until the European Parliament elections and the appointment of the European Commission and other top positions at EU level in 2009, and will include activities across Europe.

Establishing a just democracy in Europe requires the representation of all Europeans, both women and men in the making of decisions that affect their lives. The Campaign points out that the under-representation of women in EU decision-making bodies contributes to the lack of democratic legitimacy of the European Union

While many commitments have been made in relation to democracy and equality, the figures offer a bleak picture, with 70% of the members of the European Parliament and 66% of the Commissioners being men. The Campaign urges voters, national political parties, European governments and high level European decision-makers to act in order to achieve a more gender balanced family picture of Europe in 2009.

Key messages of the 50/50 Campaign

No modern European democracy without gender equality
The under-representation of women in the EU institutions is a serious obstacle to the democratic legitimacy of the EU and undermines all attempts to promote a more inclusive and participatory democracy.

Political parties and governments are the gatekeepers
Political parties, governments and MEPs have the power to make decisions about who is on electoral lists and who is appointed to the European Commission and other top positions in the autumn 2008 and in 2009. They must commit to turn the general agreement on women’s right to equal participation into women’s equal representation in European decision-making bodies.

You can change the course of Europe if you take action!
The Campaign provides interested organisations and citizens with the means to act. Mobilization in view of the European elections and nominations to come can make a difference and can help putting issues of gender equality, solidarity and sustainable and social development higher on the European agenda. The European Union has the power to act in these areas, let’s make sure that positive change and progress happens.

Main goals of the 50/50 Campaign

  • Mobilize high level and grass root support for 50/50 Campaign and lead lobbying actions for the equal representation of women and men in EU decision-making bodies.
  • Mobilize European women, as women are more Euro-sceptic than men and often less involved in European policies, and voters in general to cast their votes in the European Elections 2009 for political parties that support gender balance and gender equality.
  • Ensure 50/50 in the European Parliament in 2009: if national political parties ensure the equal representation of women and men on their candidate lists for the EP elections and put gender equality at the heart of their electoral programme, this will be achieved!
  • Ensure 50/50 in the European Commission in 2009: if national governments suggest names of women as potential Commissioners, if the designated Commission President makes gender equality a priority for the composition of the next Commission and if the European Parliament assesses the future Commission against the goal of equal representation, this will be achieved!
  • Ensure the equal representation of women for top EU positions to be filled in 2009.
  • Ensure long lasting democracy and equal representation: if the European Parliament and the European Commission show firm political commitment to the equal representation of women and men and to gender equality issues, and if concrete measures to reach this goal are introduced, this will be achieved!

Target audiences of the 50/50 Campaign

  • Women voters and voters in general in order to mobilize them to participate in lobbying actions, to cast their votes in the EP elections and to support political parties that are committed to gender equality.
  • National political parties, in order for them to guarantee the equal representation of women and men with a zipper system on their candidate lists for the European elections.
  • European governments, MEPs and the next designate Commission President for the equal representation of women and men in relation to the nomination of the new European Commission and other top positions at EU level.
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