International Women’s Day: providing support for women refugees 


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Women refugees is the theme of this year's International Women's Day at the European Parliament 

As the number of refugees in Europe continues to climb, Parliament wants to draw the attention to those who are among the most vulnerable: women and girls. This is why for this year's International Women's Day, which is held every year on 8 March, it has selected as its theme women refugees. On Wednesday and Thursday, Parliament is organising several special events to call attention to their situation. Follow the events live on our website.

Photo exhibition

Parliament's visitors centre Parlamentarium in Brussels hosts a photo exhibition showcasing the plight of women refugees throughout their journey across Europe. Parliament had asked award winning photojournalist Marie Dorigny, from France,  to create a photo reportage on the matter. The exhibition is officially opened on 2 March in the presence of  the photographer and Parliament Vice-President Sylvie Guillaume, a French member of the S&D group.  The exhibition can be visited for free until 1 June 2016.

Meeting with members of national parliaments

Parliament's women's rights committee organises an interparliamentary committee meeting on Thursday 3 March. The meeting brings together MEPs, national MPs from member states, candidate countries and Norway as well as representatives from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) and the European Commission. The idea is to discuss how to combat violence against women refugees, their situation in healthcare and measures to promote their integration.

The meeting is presided by women's rights committee chair Iratxe García-Pérez (S&D, Spain) while Parliament President Martin Schulz, former Irish President Mary Robinson and Nawal Soufi, a volunteer involved with helping refugees, open the event. Participants include, amongst others, MEPs Ernest Urtasun (Greens/EFA, Spain), Barbara Matera (EPP, Italy),  Maria Noichl (S&D, Germany), Daniela Aiuto (EFDD, Italy), Catherine Bearder (ALDE, UK), Mary Honeyball, (S&D, UK) and Malin Björk (GUE/NGL, Sweden) as well as members of the national parliaments  such as Gisela Wurm (Austria), Anna Vikström (Sweden) and Petra Stienen (the Netherlands). 

You can follow the meeting live on our website (from 9:00 until 12:30).

Press seminar

A special seminar for journalists is held on Wednesday 2 March. MEPs, international experts, journalists and representatives from non-governmental organisations come together to discuss the situation of women refugees and how to protect them. Participants are to focus on Parliament's role and possible measures to be taken at EU level.

Participating MEPs include EP Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek (Greens/EFA, Austria),  EP Vice-President Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL, Greece), women's rights committee chair Iratxe Garcia Perez (S&D, Spain), human rights subcommittee chair Elena Valenciano (S&D, Spain), Teresa Jimenez-Becerril (EPP, Spain); Catherine Bearder (ALDE, UK) and Mary Honeyball (S&D, UK).

You can follow the seminar live on our website. The seminar comprises two parts: from 10.45 until 13.00 CET and from 15.30 until 18.00 CET.

Follow what MEPs have to say on International Women's Day with the help of our Newshub, bringing you the latest updates.

Media enquiries 
  • Maja Orel Schwarz: (+32) 2 28 32357 Mobile number (+32) 473 86 49 74  
  • Iris Walter: +32 2 28 43017