Vote for a European Parliament that stands for gender equality, women’s and girls’ empowerment and rights
Gender equality and promoting women’s rights and empowerment are cornerstones of human rights and critical for development, both within and outside of Europe. When women enjoy equal political, economic, social and cultural rights, their productivity can be unleashed, creating a positive impact on the health and productivity of whole families and communities. This results in overall development. Some progress has been made thanks to the outgoing European Parliament (EP), but much remains to be done over the next five years and beyond. Strong political resolve will be needed more than ever before. We need a new EP that ensures that the EU takes positive and effective actions towards the achievement of gender equality and both women’s and girls’ empowerment and rights worldwide. New and returning MEPs must prioritise these issues both within Europe and in the EU’s external policies and funding. Don’t miss the upcoming EP elections – every vote counts!
Will you vote for an MEP who puts gender considerations at the centre of the Parliament’s everyday work and supports the EP’s role in promoting human rights and gender equality worldwide?
In October 2011, the EP adopted a resolution on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament to promote equality between women and men in all policies. A considerable majority of MEPs voted favorably, while opposition came exclusively from the centre- or far-right political groups. See here how MEPs and political groups reacted when asked to commit to incorporating a gender perspective into all EP policies and activities.
In March 2014, MEPs voted on a report on equality between women and men in the EU in 2012. The report was rejected by a narrow margin, with mainly centre- and far-right Members, together with non-attached, voting against it. The EP’s Plenary also rejected a motion for an alternative resolution prepared by the centre-right. See here how MEPs and political groups voted on this crucial report, which highlights, among the other issues, the importance of women’s equal participation in the labour market.
The Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) Committee plays a key role in ensuring that gender is mainstreamed among the EP and the other European Union Institutions work, and in playing an active role in the definition, promotion and protection of women’s rights in the Union and in third countries. It’s not only vital to ensure the continuation of the FEMM Committee in the next European Parliament, but to reinforce its role as well.
Will you vote for an MEP who believes that violence against women and girls is unacceptable, full stop?
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is prevalent worldwide, regardless of level of income. A recent study by UN Women reveals that 7 out of 10 women around the world have experienced physical and/or sexual violence. VAWG is deeply rooted in our cultures, and is largely the result of social and legal norms, which perpetuate discrimination against women and girls.
The EP can play an important role in helping to combat VAWG within Europe, as well as in encouraging Member States to meet their international commitments on this issue. For instance, in May 2011, a majority of MEPs voted in favor of the EU Policy Framework to Fight Violence Against Women. Click here to see how different groups and MEPs voted.
Will you vote for a MEP who believes that everyone has the right to decide what to do with their bodies and lives, free from discrimination and coercion?
Some of the greatest inequalities in the world are in levels of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). For example, 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, while between 8% and 25 % of girls in Sub-Saharan African countries drop out of school because of unintended pregnancies.
The EP can play a crucial role in ensuring global access to SRHR. Get an idea here of how different MEPs and political groups voted when a progressive SRHR report was sent back to the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee last October. The report acknowledged, among other things, EU Member States’ responsibility to respect and fulfill SRHR and to grant universal access to comprehensive and integrated reproductive health services, education and information. Presented with a new version in December, the EP rejected a first counter-resolution proposed by the far right, but eventually adopted one introduced by conservatives and centre-right groups. This alternative resolution, which reaffirms that the competence to develop policies on SRHR and sexuality education rests with the EU member states, effectively undermined the EU’s ability to act in the area of women’s rights.
Now over to you, the European voter! After seeing how current MEPs and political groups lined up on key votes, you can also further compare candidates’ and political groups’ positions on the Electio 2014 website. Please help to make sure we have a new European Parliament that will take all possible steps to ensure that gender equality; women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment are taken into account in all EU policies!
A European Union that promotes a world where women and girls have a choice and live free from violence and discrimination – isn’t this the “Europe We Want”?
 World Health Organization, “Fact sheet N°348″, (2012). www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/
 Barot S, “Back to Basics: The Rationale for Increased Funds forInternational Family Planning.”; Guttmacher Institute (2008)