By Manon Deshayes, European Women’s Lobby (EWL)

In May 2019, European citizens will vote to decide on the new composition of the European Parliament. The outcome of the elections will also have an impact on the face of the new European Commission and will have an influence on European politics, taking on the present and shaping the future of women and girls in Europe. Though we would like to believe otherwise, data shows that women are still very much second-class citizens in the European Union (EU). While most countries move in the right direction, some EU Member States have actually gone backwards and none has reached full gender equality. At this rate of progress, equality will not be seen in our or the next generations’ lifetimes. This is simply not acceptable. (EIGE data).

With the campaign 50/50: Women for Europe – Europe for Women, the European Women’s Lobby wants to achieve parity in the European Parliament, but also amongst the Commissioners as well as the top EU jobs. We also want the EU to realise that ensuring equality between women and men and integrating a gender perspective in all policy and financial frameworks is an obligation of the European Union as per the EU Treaties.

We launched our Manifesto for the elections, which is a comprehensive summary of our feminist vision for the future of Europe. We want women to have the same opportunities as men in every situation, to have the place they deserve in decision-making and leadership positions. We want women to be totally independent economically, which is vital for every woman. We want to put an end to the violence women face every day in every part of Europe, and we want women to be safe and live in dignity. We want women to be able to keep on fighting for their own rights by getting the funding they need and deserve for their organisations.

Through our recommendations, both for the national and European levels, we hope and strive for a feminist Europe, as we believe, as our president Gwendoline Lefebvre said, that today and in May, “Women and girls will seize this unique democratic moment to drive forward an equal, inclusive, diverse and democratic Europe where no one is left behind”.

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) brings together the women’s movement in Europe to influence the general public and European Institutions in support of women’s human rights and equality between women and men.

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