European Interest

Gender equality – the basis of democracy, not the cherry on top. S&Ds present their proposals for a fair and feminist Europe

flickr/European Parliament/CC BY 2.0

At a special event in the European Parliament this Tuesday 9 November from 12.30 to 14.00, the S&D Group leader Iratxe García, together with vice-president Hélene Fritzon and the S&D spokesperson on women’s rights Maria Noichl, and other key S&D members, are presenting today the S&D Group’s Position Paper on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights. It is the Socialists and Democrats’ roadmap on how to achieve a gender equal European Union, as they believe gender equal societies are happier, heathier, more prosperous, safe and just.

The Position Paper describes problems women face and includes concrete proposals to tackle them. The S&D’s priorities are: beating stereotypes; fighting for women’s rights to decide over their own bodies; ending all forms of violence; ensuring women’s equal representation in decision making; enhancing their economic independence; tackling gender bias in taxation; prioritising gender equality in digital and green transitions and in foreign policy; and gender mainstreaming and budgeting.
The progressive policy proposals put forward by the S&Ds include a call for an EU Women’s Rights Charter; adoption of the horizontal directive against discrimination; an annual EU campaign against gender stereotypes; the establishment of an EU Special Envoy on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; a transition towards a true care economy; a directive to eliminate gender-based violence both online and offline; and the establishment of a Gender Equality and Equality Council as a forum for the ministers responsible for gender equality and equality.

Heléne Fritzon, MEP and S&D vice-president, said:

“I am proud that the S&D Group can present today our Position Paper on gender equality. This is our feminist vision of Europe, a Europe fair and free of any kind of discrimination, because we want a life with dignity for all and see gender equality as the basis of democracy.
“The empowerment of women and the protection of women’s rights is a priority for us. Unfortunately, despite some important efforts in the last years, the progress for gender equality and women’s rights in the EU is going far too slowly. If we continue at the current pace, it will take at least 50 years until women and men have equal rights and opportunities in this Union. We call for action! Gender equality and women’s rights must be at the heart of EU policies to achieve progress.
“Gender equality and women’s empowerment start with a person’s free choice about their body and their life. We will not accept backsliding as we see in Poland or Hungary. We want a gender equality perspective integrated at all stages and levels of EU policies, programmes and budgets. This is not a women’s issue – gender equality benefits all citizens and the EU as a whole.”

Maria Noichl, MEP and S&D spokesperson on women’s rights and gender equality, added:

“As a women and a politician I am well aware of the amount of discrimination and sexism women still face on a daily basis in the EU. I also know all of the strategies we develop to nevertheless live a safe and good life. But it is time to change the system! And we will! Because no longer should any woman be denied a job she deserves just because of her age or gender. Because we do not want any more women to earn less than their male co-workers, or less because the sector they chose to work in is considered ‘traditionally female’. Because we do not want any more women to be harassed in the street or discriminated against through advertisements. Because we do not want any more women to die through the hands of their partners.
“As S&Ds, we stand for equality. Real equality. Our Position Paper shows how we want to achieve this. Discrimination, sexism and gender-based violence are real problems – the problems half of the population are facing daily. These need to be solved now, once and for all.”

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