Progressives united in drive to eradicate gender-based violence

21/11/2020 - PSOE, PES and PES Women livestream sets out progressive priorities in fight against violence targeting women and girls

PSOE, PES and PES Women livestream

PSOE hosted the conference from its headquarters in Madrid, and speakers took part by videocall. Sergei Stanishev (visible on the screen to the right), Iratxe Garcia and Zita Gurmai made the opening statements.

Europe’s progressives will do whatever it takes to end gender-based violence, a joint livestream made clear today.

Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), European socialists and democrats discussed action to combat gender-based violence at an online conference organised by PSOE, the PES, and PES Women.

Speaking at the event, PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“We have a clear stance as a political family: gender-based violence cannot be tolerated anymore. This is part of the fundamental democratic values in Europe, and every government in Europe should respect these values. There can be no compromise on this issue.”

S&D President and PES Vice-President, Iraxte García, said:

“From our political family, the message is clear: we are opposed to any form of discrimination, and we will continue to fight against it. Our goal is to achieve a fairer society where there is gender equality and social justice. We will not stop until we make it. 

“To do so, the complete accession of the European Union to the Istanbul Convention cannot wait. We must ensure that all the institutions are supporting women who suffer from gender based violence, and have zero tolerance towards gender stereotypes.”

PSOE, PES and PES Women livestream

Speakers at today's livestream 

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said:

"We need to push for the full deployment of the Istanbul Convention. The fight against violence towards women must be the roadmap for all socialists and social democrats worldwide.

"The most important challenge of democracy in the XXI century is to end the inequality between men and women. There is no socialism without deployment of the feminist agenda in Europe."

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“1 in 3 women in Europe has been a victim of physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15 years, even before COVID-19 struck. Now, the second wave of lockdowns means the situation may be much worse. Progressives are taking the lead in moving beyond ad hoc solutions towards more systemic change. Full ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention, making gender-based violence an EU crime, and improving European cooperation to combat gender stereotypes will help prevent violence, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators.”

PSOE, PES and PES Women livestream

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo (left) and PSOE Deputy Leader Adriana Lastra Fernández (centre) took part in the final roundtable

Progressive from across Europe took part in the event, including Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, European Commissioner Helena Dalli, PES President Sergei Stanishev, S&D President Iratxe García, PES Women President Zita Gurmai, PSOE Deputy Leader Adriana Lastra, PSOE Secretary against Gender-Based Violence Susana Ros, Lewica Leader Robert Biedron MEP, PES Women Vice-President Zefi Dimadama, UK Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy, S&D Vice President Heléne Fritzon, PSOE Executive Board Member and Chair of the Spanish Parliament Equality Committee Pilar Cancela, Finnish Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen, and Portuguese Minister of State for the Presidency Mariana Vieira da Silva.

PSOE, the PES and PES Women backed a political statement on fighting gender-based violence. Available in English and Spanish, it focuses on six key points:

  • As feminist progressives, the PES family has always been opposed to any form of discrimination, exploitation and gender-based violence, and we continue to fight for united and fairer societies, where gender equality and social justice are the basic rule;
  • European cooperation between progressive forces is essential to make sure all women in Europe can live free from violence, abuse and harassment. Implementing the provisions of the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 put forward by progressive Commissioner Helena Dalli will be crucial in this regard;
  • Strong legal frameworks, such as the Istanbul Convention, are essential to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims and effectively prosecute perpetrators;
  • Gender-based violence is rooted in unequal power structures and is inherently linked to gender inequality and gender stereotypes. Combatting gender-based violence must therefore be part of a wider strategy to end all gender inequalities and discrimination;
  • COVID-19 has intensified gender-based violence, in particular domestic and intimate partner violence in Europe. This must be effectively addressed by EU, national and local recovery plans.
  • Gender equality is a fundamental European value, which is threatened by a right-wing backlash against women’s human rights in many parts of Europe. As progressives, we will react strongly against this backlash and challenge oppressive regimes, debunk misconceptions, and stand up for gender equality at all levels of government.

PES Women will host another conference about gender-based violence on 8 December - Women Strike Back – Putting an end to gender-based violence – bringing together civil society, academics and progressives.