Zita Gurmai was elected as President of PES Women for the first time on 21 October 2004. She has been re-elected President on 27 September 2012.
Her ambition is to work with PES Women members to strengthen PES Women’s activities within a reinvigorated PES. Zita Gurmai has been active in Hungarian and international women’s movements since the early 1990s. In 1995, she became involved in the women’s section of the Hungarian Socialist Party, after which she was elected President of the organization in 2001. One of her first major initiatives as President was to launch the “Women for Change” movement, often referred to as “yellow scarf movement”, which was successful in advocating the introduction of gender quotas in the Hungarian Socialist Party.
Zita was instrumental in establishing and directing three foundations (Women in Public, Our Future, the Europe of the new Millennium Foundation and the Real Equal Opportunities Foundation) in Hungary which seek to improve gender equality in different areas. Zita plays an important role in the activities of the Central and Eastern European Network for Gender Issues which was set up in 1998. The mission of the network is to assist progressive women from socialist and social democratic parties and NGOs in organizing and promoting gender equality campaigns and initiatives.
Elected MP from 2002 -2004, Zita worked on the Hungarian Parliament’s Committees on European Integration and Foreign Affairs. In the first European elections of the EU of 25 member states (June 2004), Zita was elected Member of the European Parliament. During the 2004-09 European Parliament term, she was Vice-President of the Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee and a member of Regional Development Committee. In 2009, she was re-elected as Member of the European Parliament and was appointed Vice-President of European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee. Amongst other activities, Zita also promotes gender equality and women’s rights in the Global Progressive Forum project.
Zita was re-elected president of the PES Women in the last congress in Budapest, November 2015. And she is now cooperating with Commissioner Neven Mimica on International Cooperation and Development issues.