Parliamentary questions
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29 November 2018
O-000135/2018
Question for oral answer O-000135/2018
to the Commission
Rule 128
João Pimenta Lopes, on behalf of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality

 Subject: Experiencing a backlash against women's rights and gender equality in the EU

Recently, the world has witnessed trends pointing to a growing backlash against women’s rights and gender equality. Labour, economic, social and cultural rights have been compromised by further discrimination against and exclusion of women. The overall poverty and unemployment rate among women is higher, and a worrying gender pay and pension gap remains.

Within the EU, the Gender Equality Index shows persistent inequalities, with only marginal progress achieved between 2005 and 2015. Apart from an ever more widespread denial of inequality in Member States (MS), numerous attempts and efforts have been made to limit women’s decisions about their own bodies and to restrict their lives to a more conservative role. Some networks have campaigned in particular against women’s sexual and reproductive rights, while also promoting discrimination and violence against LGBTI people with practical consequences in some MS. Education reforms have been halted, gender equality, gender studies and comprehensive sexuality education negatively affected, hindering the combating of harmful stereotypes from a young age.

Preventing and combating violence against women remains a burning issue in most MS, and the ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention remains incomplete or at risk of backsliding. New or intensified forms of violence are taking up social and digital space: sexist hate speech, misogyny and online violence. Women’s rights organisations are experiencing difficulties in accessing funding in some MS due to restrictive criteria and administrative burdens, while facing a more pervasive hostile environment. Unfortunately, we are well beyond the point where the mere recognition of this disturbing negative trend is enough.

What types of measure is the Commission employing to address the growing backlash? Is the Commission endeavouring to identify the main causes of the backlash at EU level? Given the evidence and spread of the backlash across the MS, is the Commission envisaging the development of a strategy to counter it, and to strengthen the promotion of gender equality and gender mainstreaming overall? What is the stance taken in the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020? How is it working with – often endangered – women’s movements on the ground?

Last updated: 3 December 2018Legal notice