#Power2Women: Not Words but Deeds
Progressive parties and organizations from all over the world came together on 22-23 May in Rotterdam to participate to the Conference “Gender Equality and Decent Work”. The event was organized by the Progressive Alliance, in cooperation with the PvdA (Labour Party, Netherlands) and the Party of European Socialists putting forward a concrete action plan on gender equality as well as combining debates with on the ground visits on the issue.
PvdA leader Diederik Samsom opened the conference with two important lessons regarding gender equality: "Not to give up. That's the most important lesson working towards gender equality. We need partnerships to win our fight, push also men to take an active role. If we want to win this fight, we need to fight together!"
Speaking at the opening panel, PES Women President Zita Gurmai stated “2015 is a key year for gender equality: it is the deadline for accomplishing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and it marks 20 years of the Beijing Declaration*. However, we are still far from achieving true equality and it is important to bring everyone on board in this daily fight – governments, political movements, civil society organizations, trade unions and business. PES Women highlighted three key points at the conference : equal pay; sexual and reproductive health right; and the involvement of young women and development of women’s movement. The link between guaranteeing decent work for women and achieving gender equality be it in the framework of Beijing 20 or the Sustainable Development Goals is thus fundamental. We need to go beyond equality on paper and make it a reality.”
PES Vice-President and UK Labour Party leader in the Chamber of Lords Jan Royall said “The (in)equality between women and men is a crucial point that speaks volumes about a society. There is no such thing as a developed society if half its members are regarded as second-class citizens and are denied the same rights as the other half. This is why we agree that gender equality and women’s rights should be a stand-alone goal part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As progressives, however, we need to go further and be more ambitious: gender equality should be an integral part of all SDGs and adequate funding must be allocated to achieve it in practical terms. We need to make sure that the next generations will thrive in fairer, more equal societies. Let’s move from words to deeds.”
The opening was followed by workshops. On finding a 'good work-life balance' and 'women and campaigning'. On the last topic PES Deputy Secretary General Marije Laffeber stated that 'progressive parties can only win elections with women and youth. To include them in our structures and policies is one of our major challenges in order to gain strength.'
*Declaration signed by UN countries attending the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1994 to advance equality, development and peace for all women