The campaign #FEM_EU, born in May 2018, aspires to put women’s rights at the core of European politics and to push for a feminist agenda as top priority for the upcoming European Union’s elections. In this framework, FEM_EU has recently held the conference “A Feminist Perspective of the European Elections” on March 29th, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.
The representatives of Aroa Foundation and Eurolocal who launched the campaign, presented the recommendations’ paper, the campaign’s main outcome, which they aim to disseminate among the candidates to the European elections in May 2019 to encourage them to include these proposals in their programmes. The paper, which has been enriched through a discussion with the audience, includes demands in 10 areas: education, labour, participation and leadership, urbanism, sexual and reproductive rights, care, media, security, gender-based violence and intersectionality. These issues have been raised as key points to achieve gender equality within the European Union.
The European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed)’ Euro-Mediterranean Gender Equality Programme, has been represented by Emilie Vidal, who took part in the round table “Social, economic and political advocacy for effective equality between women and men”. The round table gathered experts and activists from the social and media arena representing organisations from the United Kingdom, Poland and Spain.
The presentations revolved around a variety of topics such as the need to recall on the circumstances of old women and the challenges they face in today’s aging society; and the strength of the feminist movement in Poland since the Black Monday in 2016 in defending women’ reproductive rights. The panellists insisted on the need to strengthen women’ presence in the security forces where they are historically underrepresented and to promote a gender perspective in EU’s external relations with Southern Mediterranean countries to ensure better protection to migrant women.
The session counted as well with the participation of experts specialized in European politics such as the European Commission, the European Parliament’s (EP) FEMM Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee, the European Women’s Lobby or the Consell Català del Moviment Europeu (Catalan Council of the European Movement), who shared the contributions of their institutions to gender equality. During this session, the movement MeeTooEP was introduced as a successful practice. The movement urges for an external evaluation of gender quality standards within the EP, a compulsory training on gender equality for every worker at the EP (including MEPs) and a transparent mechanism to ensure access to information with these regards. The round table, entitled “European Parliament elections, what’s at stake for gender equality?”, underlined the importance of EU elections as a turning point to adopt and enforce political measures aiming to improve women’ rights in the EU. It alsoencouraged the use of participatory procedures to influence legislative processes such as the European citizens’ initiative.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.