domingo, junio 21, 2009

Gender equality in the European Parliament at stake

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, on the left, and
Margot Wallström© European Communities, 2009
Brussels - Council/Justus Lipsius p-015384-00-07

Gender equality in the European Parliament 2009-2014 at stake:
Preliminary results of the european elections of 4-7 June 2009 and next steps
2009-06-21 Ana Pérez, GéneroUrban

The European Parliament has released this week the figures on women and men elected to the new European Parliament. Only 275 women of the 785 Members of the European Parliament will represented the 495 million citizens of the European Union (27 countries).

Gender equality in all areas of life is a fundamental right and value of the European Union, enshrined in policy since the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Yet more than fifty years on, women still fail to play an equal role in politics across Europe ... Women clearly do not have the share of political positions that should be expected if they had free and equal access to power.

From the first results we can observe that the elections of June 2009 led to slight progresses in the representation of women in the European Parliament, which now reaches about 35% of women (compared with the stagnation of the last 10 years when about 31% were elected during the 1999-2004 and 2004-20009 terms). With these results the EP still doesn’t reach parity or even the 40% of women threshold agreed by Member States of the Council of Europe in 2004 (45 European countries).

In these elections 16 EU Member States saw a rise in the proportion of elected female MEP's, 8 countries a decline and 3 countries maintained more or less the same percentage as before.

The EWL Campaign

The EWL 50/50 Campaign is now focusing on actions aiming at improving the representation of women in internal decision-making posts within the European Parliament (president, vice-presidents, (vice)-chairing of committees etc) and in the European Commission.

For this purpose model lobbying letters have been drafted and can be found on the 50/50 Campaign website This material is at the disposal of Internet users to be translated/ adapted and sent as soon as possible to national governments / political parties to influence decisions regarding nominations and political negotiations which are taking place right now

Next steps

For now the names that are advanced for the Presidency of the parliament are those of the two male leaders of major parties who currently sit.
There are rumours that the two largest groups in Parliament, the EPP-ED and PES, have already agreed to share the post of President of the European Parliament as they have done for all but two terms of Parliament. The first half of the term would be taken by Jerzy Buzek MEP of the EPP (who would be the first person from Eastern Europe to hold the post), who would then pass it over to Martin Schulz MEP, the current leader of PES. Other candidates for these posts are Graham Watson, the leader of ALDE and it was reported that Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi wanted the EPP's candidate to instead be Mario Mauro MEP of his party rather than Buzek.

At the EU summit on Friday 19 June, EU leaders agreed to renew the conservative José Barroso, Portuguese and current President of the Commission to renew its mandate with a second term.

In autumn, this will be the position of Secretary General of the Council of the EU held by Javier Solana (Spain) which should also be renewed and finally if the Lisbon treaty is ratified there would be a seat more to fulfill.

The difficult/ impossible struggling for an 2009-2014 Europe led by 50 % female leaders and other people who are not white + male.

To write... Not a single woman?

Related posts in this blog
Que se oiga tu voz!// Make your voice heard // Fais entendre ta voix
Elecciones europeas: ¿cómo fomentar la participación política de las mujeres?
How representative will the European elections be?

Links and sources


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