PES Women President calls Commissioner Reding’s approach to the 15th anniversary to Beijing Platform a ‘missed opportunity’


At a meeting in New York with Commissioner Viviane Reding (responsible for gender equality and women’s rights), Party of European Socialists (PES) Women’s President, Zita Gurmai, called the proposed content of the “European Women's Right Charter" in the EC declaration on the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA) a missed opportunity. Ms. Reding announced the Commission’s intention to present an EC Declaration on the Beijing Platform for Action referring to the European Women’s Rights Charter.

Next week, the Commission will also present the proposal for this Charter to the European Parliament. Ms. Gurmai said that; “Listening to Ms. Reding, it is clear that the Commission intends to have a “solemn text” reminding us of what the EU has achieved on gender equality. However, Ms. Reding underlined the fact that the Charter would not be the basis for the EU’s upcoming work in the area of gender equality and women’s rights, that it should not be an aim in itself, nor an action plan, but only a declaration of faith”.

Only presenting a symbolic document to mark the anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action would be a very weak action by the European Commission. “Surely, if we talk about a newly created Charter, we should talk about something that is more progressive than what we already have at European level and at global level” stated Mrs. Gurmai.

‘We are fighting for progressive ideas, which should not be questioned any longer in the 21st Century”, insists Mrs. Gurmai. “If we want to keep progressing we need something stronger than a symbolic Charter congratulating ourselves”.

For PES Women, a European Women's Right Charter should therefore include a reference to:

  • CEDAW,
  • Gender Roadmap 
  • EU 2020 Strategy with strong gender equality foundations and approach
  • It should address a wide range of issues and policy fields and go beyond the issues of women on the labour market and politics only
  • Such a Charter should have clear targets, a deadline for achieving these targets and yearly revisions.

The end of the European Commission mandate should present the result of our work on gender equality issue with a European Women’s Rights Charter and that’s the goal to work towards.