- “Believe in yourself and in your capabilities, and never give up”, says Croatia’s President to women and girls
- Political parties have a role to play to encourage women’s participation in politics
- Women represent 36.1% of members in the current European Parliament
Less than three months before the European Elections, the Gender Equality Committee held an inter-parliamentary meeting on women’s power in politics on Thursday.
One day ahead of International Women’s Day, Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee members debated with more than 20 national MPs from 15 EU member states and Norway during an inter-parliamentary meeting on ‘‘Women’s power in politics’’.
Opening the event chaired by Vilija Blinkeviciute (S&D, LT), EP President Antonio Tajani declared: ‘‘We must keep working to have more women in politics, but also in businesses. It is a battle for dignity and respect that must be fought by all of us.’’
EP Vice-President and Chair of the High-level group on Gender Equality Dimitrios Papadimoulis added that even though women’s participation in politics was on the rise, ‘‘most of the important positions are still filled by men, and this has to change. If we continue according to the rhythms we are following now, we will achieve gender equality in 182 years!’’
The first-ever female President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, delivered a keynote speech in which she recalled how she had to fight for her place, both in life and in politics, and to break countless glass ceilings. “The starting point is a change in mind-set: we need to build a political culture which leads to women’s equal participation’’. In conclusion, her message to women and girl was: ‘‘Have faith and believe in yourselves, in your values, your strength and your capabilities. Your determination will make all remaining obstacles fall.’’
MEPs and MPs discussed ways to boost women’s participation in the political sphere, for example via the use of quotas, and the crucial role political parties play when considering nominations and positions on electoral lists. They also raised the issue of young women’s participation in politics, who often face barriers (precarious working conditions, lower income, absence of paternal leave...). Mentoring programmes, an equal parental leave system for men and women and the role of the education system were raised as possible solutions to overcome these obstacles.
Among the other participants, Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Commissioner Vera Jourová, EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini and Women’s Rights Committee Vice-Chair João Pimenta Lopes advocated for more women in decision-making, pleaded for men to be involved in the fight for gender equality and for existing legislation on the subject to be properly enforced.
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