PES Women: 2021 must be a turning point for gender equality and women’s rights

05/02/2021

PES Women Executive meeting by videoconference

PES Women Executive meeting by videoconference

Meeting online for the first time this year, the PES Women Executive reiterated its call and commitment to place women’s rights and gender equality at the centre of European politics in 2021.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“In 2021 we must make sure women count! Make us count in the labour market, in decision-making, in every piece of legislation and in every budget line across Europe. As EU Member States are preparing to submit their national recovery and resilience plans to deal with the economic and social consequences of COVID-19, we progressive feminists will be there to hold policymakers to account.

“2020 was an awful year for gender equality progress. Women fought on the frontlines of the pandemic, facing maximum work with minimum pay and recognition. They lost their jobs, faced increased unpaid care burdens and were exposed to rising gender-based violence. Their access to sexual and reproductive health and rights was further limited.

“Our calls for self-determination, equal participation and representation finally needs to be heard. Including women on an equal footing in every conversation and decision must become the standard for all. We want to wave goodbye to the old-fashioned, patriarchal and regressive politics of the last century, but will conservatives finally understand that inclusive, diverse and equal societies will benefit us all? Facing the current backlash, PES Women and other feminist forces will be here to amplify women’s voices and fight for women’s equality and rights.”

It will be a crucial year for gender equality, with the implementation of the EU Gender Equality Strategy, the continuation of the Generation Equality Forum, the Social Summit in Porto and the tenth anniversary of the Istanbul Convention. As the Conference on the Future of Europe is drawing closer, 2021 is a vital opportunity to put women at the centre of the EU.

PES Women will continue being the watchdog for gender equality inside and outside of the PES and will deepen its cooperation with partner organisations, parliamentarians, Commissioners, governments and parties, including the progressive Portuguese Council Presidency. Together, we will make sure that decades of progress on gender equality is not lost. This is particularly important in the light of women’s rights violations across the globe, from HDP politician Leyla Güven’s unlawful sentencing to 22 years in prison, to the nearly complete ban of rights to abortion in Poland by the PiS-led government, just to name a few. Much work lies ahead to achieve a more equal and feminist Europe.