How can female stereotypes be changed in European society? It was one of many questions during a Facebook chat with Mikael Gustafsson, chair of the women's rights committee, on Wednesday 5 March. The Swedish member of the GUE/NGL group took part in the chat on the occasion of International Women's Day. Facebook fans were also interested in finding out what member states can do to boost equality between men and women.
This year's International Women's Day, which is always held on 8 March, is dedicated to preventing violence against women. Facebook fans asked why this was chosen as the theme. Gustafsson said they wanted to send a strong message to the European Commission and the member states to prioritise this issue.
Many people also asked how to make people think differently about gender inequality. "We have to fight gender inequality at all levels and also talk about the issue of violence against women," Gustafsson said. " Especially, in early ages and in school we need to involve men and boys in this struggle."
On the question why in the 21st century violence against women still exists, Gustafsson replied that we lived in a society that is gender-unequal and violence against women is a direct reflection of that gender inequality.
Facebook fans were also interested to know what member states could do to foster equality. Gustafsson said member states could ratify the Istanbul convention on combatting violence against women. "It is a very good convention but too few member states have signed and ratified it."
To read the full text and find out more about what the Parliament is doing, click on the links on the right.