Lucette Pilcer sent this report on the General Assembly of the European Women’s Lobby meeting in Brussels from June 9 to 11, 2023.
Founded in 1990, the European Women’s Lobby represents more than 2000 EU organisations from 26 Member States, as well as 17 European-wide organisations of which ICJW is one. This was the first coming together since 2019; due to Covid, we had only seen each other on Zoom. There were about 110 members present.
The first day was spent at the European Parliament where we heard several most interesting women members and rapporteurs. The session was ended with a to the point contribution from Barbara Hendricks. The next two days were spent at a hotel in Brussels.
The Istanbul Convention
The first good news is that the European Parliament has ratified the Istanbul Convention. This means that other countries which have not done so will be forced to respect it. The Istanbul Convention fights all violence against women and girls. One little statistic for your information: per week in Europe there are 90 outspoken women victims of violence.
Other points of the Lobby’s program are: sexual exploitation, feminist economics, women in political decision making, Europe free from prostitution, women’s human rights, cyber violence etc. The Secretary explained how the new Board is working and has regular consultation meetings with the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).
About the European Women’s Lobby
The Lobby’s Manifesto is now printed in 20 languages to extend its visibility. The Lobby’s budget comes 80% from the European Commission and 20% from co-funding private companies. EWL has started advocacy campaigns in view of the 2024 European elections. At the moment, only one third of ministers in the EU are women, the average gender gap in pension is 30%, difference in wages goes from 8 to 35%.
Women are not a minority, we want equal representation, bodily autonomy, and inclusion of women’s voices in peace-building. In other words: ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention in its entirety without any reservations.