PES Women call for cities and regions to be safe spaces for women

PES Women call for cities and regions to be safe spaces for women

PES Executive Vice President Katarina Barley (fifth from right), President of PES Women Zita Gurmai (sixth from right), and other members of the PES Women Statutory Board, alongside President of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions Christophe Rouillon, during the PES Women meeting in Valencia, Spain

On 2 March, PES Women Statutory Board members met ahead of International Women’s Day to discuss local, national and EU for combating gender-based violence with a focus on prevention, protection and support for victims. 

At the EU level, PES Women members call for the implementation of an EU Women’s Rights Charter. During this meeting, PES Women Statutory Board backed the S&D Group roadmap for the adoption of an EU Women’s Rights Charter. The charter seeks to ensure that women’s rights cannot be revoked, particularly in light of increasing lag in progress and regression on gender equality. 

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said: 

“In light of increasing backlash and resistance to women’s rights and gender equality, we must enshrine women’s rights in an EU Charter to ensure their protection now and in the future. The 2024 EU elections provide an excellent opportunity to push for the implementation of the charter as an EU wide catalogue of basic rights to protect women in the EU and beyond. We must act now.”

PES Women President Zita Gurmai (left) and PES Executive Vice President Katarina Barley

The PES Women Statutory Board also exchanged on planned member activities for International Women’s Day (8 March). This year, PES Women and the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions are running a campaign – #SafePlace4Women – which calls upon authorities to declare their cities and regions as safe spaces for women by committing to policies that ensure women’s safety and punish any form of gender-based violence. 

#SafePlace4Women was launched by PES Women President, Zita Gurmai, and PES CoR President, Christophe Rouillon, on Friday 3 March in Valencia during the PES Group Conference ‘It’s women’s time!’. A vital part of this campaign is a resolution containing 12 measures that can be readily adopted by local authorities in their locality. Alongside PES CoR, PES Women will be running a social media campaign sharing #ProgressiveLocalStories showcasing cities and regions who are front-runners in combating gender-based violence. PES Women and all its member organisations invite everyone to join this call so that all women can live free from violence across the EU.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said: 

“Gender equality is a core value for both the EU and our political family. We cannot hope to achieve gender equality while violence against women remains so prevalent in our societies. This campaign raises awareness of gender-based violence in our localities and provides concrete measures that progressive local and regional leaders can implement to ensure zero-tolerance to violence against women. 

“We must act now to ensure that women feel safe in our cities and regions!”

Furthermore, PES Women prepared upcoming events such as the 67th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) in New York. This year’s focus for CSW is on innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. As part of CSW67, PES Women have organised a parallel event, ‘Automating Inequality’ on 6 March along with the Foundation for European Progressives Studies (FEPS), the Jean Jaures Foundation and UN Women Germany, which will discuss how digitalisation can perpetuate existing inequalities. Additionally, PES Women will be hosting a number of bi-lateral meetings to discuss pertinent issues in gender equality in the digital age. PES Women will also take part in different events in New York to mark International Women’s Day.