True democracies are parity democracies, say PES Women

13/05/2022

PES Women Statutory members meeting by videoconference

PES Women Statutory members meeting by videoconference

After celebrating Europe Day on 9 May, PES Women Statutory members met to discuss the latest developments of the war on Ukraine, the gender-sensitive response it requires, and the role of women in politics, in the context of this war and beyond.

Regarding the war in Ukraine, PES Women reiterates its calls to address gender-based violence, including war rape, displacement, trafficking, and famine, which are high risks specifically for Ukrainian women.

While NGOs are displaying huge solidarity and efforts, EU governments should cooperate with local and regional authorities as well as civil society, who are doing most of the work on the ground.

A gender-sensitive response is very necessary, which must also entail including women throughout peace negotiations, such as envisioned in the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“On 9 May we celebrated Europe Day, a good moment to reflect on the state of our democracies and our core values. The European Union was founded in the aftermath of World War II as a project for peace, democracy and equality. Now, after so many years of peace in Europe, we witness the devastating consequences of war again. What is happening in Ukraine is a reminder: we should not take our project for granted and not everyone in the world shares our vision and values. We must fight every day to defend these, and we must show solidarity to others.

“Furthermore, the consequences of this war are clearly different for women and men, and so the response to the crisis, to the refugees arriving in the EU, and our long-term actions must be gender-sensitive. This includes the diplomatic response: women must be at decision-making tables. Their contributions are valuable and they must have an equal voice.”

The role of women in politics was discussed in-depth by PES Women Statutory members with Iratxe Garcia Perez, MEP and President of the S&D Group in the EU Parliament, who agreed extra efforts are needed to promote equal representation, and more feminist policies across the whole political arena, including transposing the recommendations of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

While more women are in politics than ever before, men are still overrepresented from local and regional governments to the EU level. This stems from the imbalanced power structures in our societies, stereotypical roles imposed on women, discrimination and violence, and other factors, which are all intertwined. A big step forward would be to establish mechanisms that prevent harassment and to have proper maternity leave for politicians, which many members of our political family have been campaigning on for many years.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai commented:

“True democracies are parity democracies, where women have equal opportunities, political representation and their contributions are included too. This requires all of us to work together, women and men included, towards a more sustainable political model. The barriers women face are multiple and interconnected, but they are not impossible to overcome. We need strong political will for a more equal political system. Without more action, it will take almost 100 years to close the gender gap in national parliaments. We cannot wait that long!”