I vote for a woman. Why? EWL's call for a strong commitment to gender equality - #EP2014

The European Women's Lobby, the largest umbrella organisation of women's associations in the European Union (EU), is working to promote women's rights and equality between women and men, and representing a total of more than 2000 organisations. (Note 1) The EWL calls for a strong commitment to gender equality in the European Parliament elections 2014. Gender equality is an essential part of democracy, social justice and human rights. 

Why is it important to vote? 
The European Union is a key player in terms of democracy and social change. By voting at the European elections, YOU decide who represents you in the European Parliament. The candidates you chose are your supporters for the next five years. 
The EU supports gender equality through legislative acts and support to national developments. European laws or directives call for equal treatment on the basis of sex and include equal pay for equal work. The Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee of the European Parliament plays a key role by sending out strong messages which determine policies in Europe.

The International Alliance of Women (an international organization promoting the human rights of women and girls around the world) is a member of the EWL and is represented in the Executive Board by the president of IAW, Joanna Manganara from Greece. 
As an active member of IAW I want to endorse and share five points of the EWL Manifesto EP elections 2014 'Act now for her future, commit to gender equality!' 

1. A comprehensive framework to achieve gender equality
Adopt and implement the EU Strategy for Equality between women and men 2015-2020. 
Such strategy is key to guarantee that the European Union sees the goal of equality between women and men as a core objective of its work.

2. Sustainable funding for gender equality
Guarantee adequate EU funding for programmes, policies and actions on women's rights and gender equality.
Budgets mirror political priorities. The EWL is also calling for gender budgeting to be incorporated at all levels, which consists in applying assessments of budgets, incorporating a gender perspective al all levels of the budgetary process (design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation).

3. Credible EU policies on gender equality at international level
Ensure consistency between EU internal and external policies, including at UN level and in the post-2015 development framework. 
And 2015 will see the 20th anniversary of the Platform for Action - Beijing+20. The PfA is an agenda for women's empowerment and delivers strong commitment to realise gender equality and promote women's rights. The review of progress on implementing this human rights instrument will be conducted at national and regional levels.

4. Women's economic independence, the key to all freedoms
Combat women's poverty, including in-work poverty, and put an end to the gender pay and pensions gaps. Statistics show that women on average continue to earn 16% less than men within the EU. In figures, women's employment rate - 63% - is nowhere close to the EU target of 75%.
The austerity measures, which have been introduced as result of the financial cricis, have undermined years of progress towards women's integration in the labour market: a she-(re)cession. Animated EWL video-clip on the impact of austerity measures on women in Europe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euIp9VdKzFk

5. A Europe free from violence against women
Establish 2016 as the EU Year to End violence against women, with substantial resources to raise awareness and support actions at all levels.
The results of the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) European wide survey on violence against women based on interviews with 42,000 women published in March 2014 show the wide and extremely high prevalence of violence against women: one in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. Violence against women is far too high everywhere in Europe: urgent change is needed.



50/50 Campaign: No modern European democracy without gender equality of EWL
50F/50M I vote for a woman / female candidate
I'm joining the 50/50 campaign 'No Modern European Democracy without Gender Equality'. Only 35% of members of European Parliament and just 24% of members of National Parliaments are women. And only three out of 14 European Parliament Vice Presidents are women: Neelie Kroes, Viviane Reding and Catherine Ashton. I vote for a woman and for gender equality! Do YOU?

Note 1
This blog is a summary and is using agreed upon words from Manifesto, flyers and the website of the European Women's Lobby.

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