Gender Equality : Europe Marks 100th International Women's Day

European Social Policy, March 10, 2011 | Go to article overview

Gender Equality : Europe Marks 100th International Women's Day


On the eve of the 100th International Women's Day, which was marked on 8 March, national MPs and MEPs came together to celebrate women's rights at the European Parliament, on 3 March, and to discuss women in politics. "The first women's day was celebrated in 1911. Since then, we've all learned about women as victims of persecution. But inequality, both in terms of professional life, politics and education, persist. We must continue our struggle," said EP President Jerzy Buzek, reminding members that Parliament itself still had work to do. Former EP President (1999-2002) Nicole Fontaine also declared: "In 1979, we had 16% women in Parliament, in 1994 it was 26% and today, we account for 35.2%. We must continue our efforts, particularly with political groups that still have very few women".

More generally, those present spoke of many barriers that still exist for women in politics. "Traditional barriers continue to discourage or prevent women candidates," declared the former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson. Deputies have since suggested changing the national electoral legislations to increase women's representation at local, regional and national levels. …

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