On International Women’s day, Chair of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee Robert Biedroń issued the following statement.
“The European Parliament has made some significant steps towards achieving gender equality over the last twelve months. Parliament approved landmark rules to boost gender equality on corporate boards in November, and a deal was reached on binding pay transparency measures in December, to name but a few.
But we still have so far to go.
If we continue at the current pace, the European Union is at least 60 years away from reaching complete gender equality. We cannot wait another 60 years.
Over the last few years, there has been a backlash against women’s rights both in Europe and around the world. This worrisome phenomenon puts many of the hard-earned gains that women have achieved in jeopardy, particularly in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The decision of the US Supreme Court to renounce the federal constitutional right to abortion has transformed the lives of women and girls across the US, disproportionately affecting women in vulnerable situations. With the recent de facto abortion ban in Poland and limitations on sexual and reproductive health and rights in other EU countries, tackling the erosion of sexual and reproductive health rights is a matter of urgency. The backlash against women’s rights and gender equality is being felt also in other sectors including social and labour protection, education, political decision-making positions and work places. This is why we need to increase our efforts to ensure that the progress already achieved is carefully safeguarded and that women could never be deprived of their hard-won and acquired rights. All European women should be able to enjoy the same rights.
Gender-based violence remains one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world, and sexual violence continues to be used as a weapon of war, with women and girls particularly affected by the war in Ukraine. As women in Afghanistan are subjected to gender apartheid, and in Iran women protesters continue to face severe repercussions, the Parliament will continue working to counteract these negative developments.
We need to stand strong against the backlash against gender equality and the blatantly discriminatory actions we see against women, the LGBTQI+ community and other vulnerable groups and, for this, political will is needed. Looking ahead, the committee will keep pushing for the EU to ratify the Istanbul Convention and will seek to negotiate the best possible agreement on a directive on combating violence against women.”
Natalie Kate KONTOULISPress Officer