PES Women: gender equality is a fundamental EU value that must be protected

Members of the PES Women Executive meeting today by videoconference

Members of the PES Women Executive meeting today by videoconference

Following the celebration of Europe Day on May 9, PES Women Executive members met to discuss how equality – a fundamental EU value – can be fully achieved for women.

2023 has seen an increased conservative backlash against gender equality and women’s rights across Europe and around the world. To safeguard against further rollbacks, PES Women Executive members backed calls for the implementation of an EU Charter of Women’s Rights. This charter is a fundamental step in ensuring that women’s rights are irrevocable in Europe. With the European elections fast approaching, PES Women Executive members reaffirmed that the protection of women’s rights and gender equality remains a top priority for European socialist.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“We are seeing backlashes against women, LGBTQ communities, migrants and other marginalised communities across Europe and the world. These are all connected. We will only withstand it if we dare to take even more action, more democracy, more solidarity.

“These attacks are inherently linked to undermining democracy and European values. It is essential that we show our commitment to gender equality in all political areas, and in all our countries. As such, we must insist upon the enactment of an EU Charter for Women’s Rights.”

PES Women Executive members also exchanged on the role of women in politics in the European Union with European Women’s Lobby (EWL) Acting Secretary-General, Mary Collins, and Policy and Campaigns Officer, Jéromine Andolfatto. They joined the PES Women Executive meeting to present the latest EWL study: ‘Taking Stock of Women’s Representation in Politics across Europe’. The study outlines the current state of women’s political participation and representation across Europe.

Last year, PES Women members adopted the PES Women position paper on parity democracy for women which considered how to make political systems work for women.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“True democracies must be parity democracies. We are seeing some progress, but women still remain underrepresented in the political sphere. Women need real and meaningful participation in politics and decision-making at every level across the board. Exclusion of women from political decision-making undermines our democratic institutions and values.

“We need more action, and we need it now; particularly in the run up to the EU elections in 2024. We cannot waste this opportunity to make real change happen!”

Further, PES Women prepared upcoming events, such as its upcoming statutory meeting in Lisbon on 9 May. PES Women will also organise a joint international conference in Lisbon to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of PES Women with the PES member party, Partido Socialista and its women’s organisation, Mulheres Socialitas.