PES ministers for gender equality reaffirm commitment to accelerate women’s rights for a truly feminist and equal Europe

08/07/2020 - Declaration adopted by PES ministers for gender equality

PES Women

EU leaders must show a clear commitment to women’s rights and gender equality by creating a forum for intergovernmental exchange at the EU-level, progressive gender equality ministers agreed today.

The meeting focused on the importance of creating a truly gender mainstreamed EU recovery strategy, with the necessary funding and institutional structures to stop the backlash against gender equality and ease the burden on women in the wake of COVID-19.

PES Ministers from Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Malta and Luxembourg declared in the adopted text:

“This is the moment to put gender equality and women’s rights at the heart of the EU’s recovery strategy and to deliver bold and ambitious policies. The work of the European institutions is crucial in this process. While the European Parliament and the European Commission have enshrined gender equality as a key portfolio and priority, the EU still does not have a formal Council configuration for gender equality. We, the PES Ministers for gender equality and women’s rights, have the political will. We are asking the EU leaders to take their responsibility.”

The ministers, state secretaries, Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli and other representatives of the progressive family convened at the invitation of PES Women President Zita Gurmai to mark the start of the German Council Presidency on 1 July.

In addition to the declaration, the participants discussed concrete initiatives to deliver on the EU Gender Equality Strategy and promote a feminist economy for Europe, including the upcoming Commission proposal for a pay transparency directive and the ‘Women on Boards’ directive.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“To combat threats to the rights of women and girls and to advance gender equality, we need strong leadership from national governments. The creation of a Council configuration for gender equality would show that the EU is taking gender equality seriously and is willing to put women’s rights at the heart of its recovery strategy. The COVID-19 crisis has shown the importance of prioritising women’s issues and mainstreaming gender equality in all EU policies, and a Council configuration is crucial for this. 

"The next few months will be vital for gender equality in Europe. I am looking forward to seeing a strong commitment to advancing gender equality during the German Council Presidency and ambitious initiatives spearheaded by Commissioner Dalli. Moreover, PES Women calls on all EU leaders to ensure a gender mainstreamed EU budget and recovery fund as soon as possible.”

At last month’s PES Presidency meeting, PES Women Vice-President Marja Bijl briefed the Presidency members on PES Women’s call for the creation of a formal Council configuration for gender equality.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Mariana Vieira da Silva, Minister of State for the Presidency (Portugal)
  • Rosianne Cutajar, Junior Minister for Equality and Reforms (Malta)
  • Juliane Seifert, State Secretary Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Germany)
  • Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality (Malta)
  • Heléne Fritzon MEP, S&D Group Vice-President, responsible for Equality (Sweden)
  • Zita Gurmai, PES Women President (Hungary)
  • Marja Bijl, PES Women Vice-President (Netherlands)