We believe gender equality is one of the pre-requisites for a fair society, which is why we are very excited to share our #GreensGoPurple International Women's Day campaign with you.
Studies by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) reveal that men are still making the majority of decisions at the most senior levels in both the private and public sectors, whilst the administrative, and care-based work traditionally carried out by women continues to be under-valued and underpaid. This is why we believe we must continue to pour energy into an international day specifically dedicated to women.
Our 7-day countdown leading up to International Women's Day on 8 March hopes to underline some of the areas where the Greens are hoping to have an impact.
Help us fight for a fairer society for women and all European citizens. There is no time to waste - we are the women we've been waiting for!
We call on women across Europe to take a stand today to claim their rights. Many battles lie ahead of us. We must summon both strength and stamina.
Earlier generations struggled to guarantee the rights we enjoy today. Many women’s rights activists faced ridicule, humiliation, and pariah status so we could enjoy better lives. We stand on their shoulders.
But there are many reasons not to give up the fight. Women still earn less than men and have less chances of accessing lucrative, top-tier posts. We must lay the groundwork for a different future to enable girls at school today to aim higher. As well as opening doors to a more diverse range of opportunities, we must seriously reconsider where we place value in society. We do not believe in a society where women have to adapt to become more like men, but one in which a broader set of skills are valued, and remunerated accordingly.
Let’s set our sights high and believe in what we can achieve. We cannot accept to live in a culture which allows the powerful to prey on the vulnerable. The #MeToo campaign exposed the ubiquity of sexual harassment at work. We have turned a blind eye for too long and we need establish a new status quo as to what is acceptable.
In Europe, we cannot even agree on the signing of the Istanbul Convention against domestic violence against women. How can we claim to be a beacon of progressive values when we fail to prioritise the need to stamp out violence against women? We can and must do better.
As we take a stand across Europe today, let’s remember that this is not only a protest about women, but in solidarity with women. If you believe in a more equal, less prejudiced society, this day is for you.
Join a protest march where you are, reach out to a local civil society movement, or simply speak to friends and colleagues about what this day means to them. You may learn something.
Thank you for your support and please help us spread the feminist word.
Political progress can never be taken for granted which is why we need to defend it at all costs. Growing populism and conservatism is seriously impacting progressive values, including the right for women to decide if and when they wish to have children, and the right to have an abortion in good psychological, sanitary or economic conditions, whatever their age, social origin or marital status. As Greens we must act to defend these rights vigorously.
Social change can be painfully slow, but sometimes it takes us by surprise - sudden, and out of the blue. Such was the case in the Czarny Protest (black pro-choice protests) in Poland which succeeded in galvanizing support on an issue that had been seen as taboo with few supporters. Yet, tens of thousands of people boycotted work and classes in 2016 to protest against proposals that if enacted would have imposed a blanket ban on abortion, including in instances of pregnancy as a result of rape or incest. The huge turnout prompted the government to abandon the bill and reconsider its options. It marked a big success for woman’s rights, mobilising people from all walks of life.
On #InternationalWomensDay let's meet at demonstrations in Poland and across Europe. We thank @europeangreens for supporting the struggle for reproductive rights in Poland and #Ireland. Solidarity is our strength! 🤝 #RepealThe8th #CzarnyProtest 💜 #GreensGoPurple pic.twitter.com/bQHx04U3fb— Partia Zieloni 🌻 (@Zieloni) March 7, 2018
In Ireland, the repeal the Eighth Amendment referendum due to be held at the end of May could also mark a sea change in attitudes towards abortion. The Eighth amendment equates the life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or foetus and has created an unworkable distinction between a pregnant woman’s life and her health. For woman’s rights to be truly respected, Irish citizens need to overturn the amendment and allow women to take back control of their bodies in a safe and legal way.
1 DAY LEFT till #InternationalWomensDay! 'In Ireland, a huge issue that is facing women is a lack of access to full reproductive healthcare' - @unapower. In May we have an opportunity to change this. Tomorrow we march to get #VotesForRepeal 💜 #GreensGoPurple pic.twitter.com/soDLciPlNw— Green Party Ireland (@greenparty_ie) March 7, 2018
Governments are not in a position to moralise on what’s right for women, but systems must be put in place that puts health, welfare and safety first. We must improve sexual education, increase access to contraceptives and to anonymous professional advice to enable and empower women to make the best choices available about their bodies.
On the eve of International Women’s Day, let’s speaks forcefully about the rights we need to gain and defend. Let’s show solidarity and support for positive change in countries where women do not have rights or an appropriate support system to make decisions about their own bodies.
Discrimination doesn’t come alone. Oppression against women is not only gender-based, but interlaced and influenced by other factors, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and class. For that reason, women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. By looking at how different aspects intersect rather than in isolation, we will achieve a more holistic approach when fighting against discrimination.
Oppression against women is not only gender-based, but interlaced and influenced by other factors. We caught up with tribal attorney and activist @zhaabowekwe to ask her why #intersectionality is important to #feminism 💜#GreensGoPurplehttps://t.co/hTpPhUq1Wj pic.twitter.com/srf8axtaft— European Greens (@europeangreens) March 7, 2018
To make a change, to build a society where everyone will be treated equally and will have equal opportunities, we have to acknowledge the differences in the challenges each person faces. Our job is done only when we have reached equality for everyone. If we don’t fight for all women, we fight for no women.
Tune in tomorrow for the next area where the Greens are hoping to have an impact: Reproductive rights.
Violence against women in any form is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. We feel hugely encouraged by the results of 2017’s global #MeToo campaign that exposed the ubiquity of sexual harassment. We have had enough of a culture of abuse and impunity with men hiding behind positions of power and a semblance of respectability.
Green MP @CarolineLucas has spoken out about sexual harassment and bullying in politics. It's time we take serious steps forward to change the rules, and our culture, to dismantle damaging power inequalities in politics and society 💜#GreensGoPurple https://t.co/vTB19DTWwP pic.twitter.com/SmsMKs8xEt— European Greens (@europeangreens) March 5, 2018
It is high-time they are called to answer for their actions. We commend those women who were brave enough to speak out. The campaign demonstrated that abuse is endemic across sectors, including politics. Within the Green/EFA Group in the European Parliament, MEP Terry Reintke has launched a petition to stop sexual harassment in the European Parliament.
As Greens, we have advocated for the signing and ratifying of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. We believe this will be a first step towards a common approach towards beating this problem.
Tune in tomorrow for the next area where the Greens are hoping to have an impact: Intersectionality.
Among the many misconceptions around feminism, the one that is perhaps the most corrosive is that we are the enemies of men. It is deeply saddening that the people who should be our closest allies also perceive us as a core threat. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Feminists come in many shapes, sizes and skin colours. They are men and women, Christian, Muslim and atheist. What unites us is a belief in a future where people can express themselves in the most authentic way possible; a future where men can appear weak without being told to ‘man up’ and women can compete with men on an equal footing.
We are tired of living in a patriarchal society that operates to the detriment of women. As proud feminists we need to show that another future is possible; one that is fairer and more equal for all, regardless of gender.
Tune in tomorrow for the next area where the Greens are hoping to have an impact: Stopping violence against women.
We believe feminism must be embedded in how we organise society and cater for the multiple needs of all genders. Feminism is a theory and a practice; based on a belief in equality between all genders and perhaps more importantly on a devotion to snuff out discrimination and domination patterns based on gender identity.
As a gardener, urban planer, farmer or teacher, we all benefit from feminist action. A world based on equal opportunities support and solidarity, is a world that leaves no one behind. So do not ask what you can do for women, but rather what feminism can do for you.
We all carry responsibility to dismantle destructive patterns that disadvantage women, or any other group. Break the silence, join the action. Be a strong ally, be a proud feminist.
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Tune in tomorrow for the next area where the Greens are hoping to have an impact: Smashing the patriarchy.
Men and women must be paid the same for doing the same kind of work. Common sense, right? So it would seem, but sadly it’s not the case across Europe’s 28 member countries. On average, women earn around 16 percent less than men and in some countries it reaches as much as 30 percent less.
So what’s gone wrong? Firstly, it’s important to note that working patterns have a big impact on the pay gap. Women are far more likely to work part-time and take parental leave than men. A closer look at the stats also reveal that in countries such as Italy, the pay gap looks lower but it’s only because less women hold full-time employment. Another major factor that skews statistics is that in many countries, women are simply locked out of the more lucrative jobs. But in the end, you only need to glance at the management structure of almost any big company to see that top-tier management is almost exclusively held by men – and this needs to change.
At #EUideasLab Green Member of Swedish Parliament @emmanohren joins the #GreensGoPurple campaign and highlights the work @miljopartiet and the feminist Swedish government have done on the #GenderPayGap 💜https://t.co/vTB19DTWwP pic.twitter.com/Nt4BIdo5UN— European Greens (@europeangreens) March 2, 2018
As Greens, we must help speed up the shift towards equality. Lofty ideals are not enough. Women are still carrying out the bulk of unpaid care-giving duties whilst men struggle to justify parental leave to their bosses, leading to serious imbalances and a rigid and unfair system. We must demand that both the public and private sector be transparent about the gender balance within their ranks and instigate specific measures to improve track records. We must also encourage greater work-life balance for both men and women and put an end to harmful stereotypes about the traditional roles in the labor market.
Tune in tomorrow for the next area where the Greens are hoping to have an impact: Feminists and their allies.
In Europe, women are still vastly under-represented in politics. Despite a few prominent women leaders, such as UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, family photos of political leaders at EU summits are still dominated by white men in suits.
Currently, only 37.3 % of Members of European Parliament are women. The situation is worse still in national parliaments, where women account for less than one third. On average, parliaments across the EU member states have only 32% of seats held by women. It's simply not representative of today's Europe.
A closer look also reveals that women politicians often end up with the "softer" portfolios, such as family affairs, education, health and culture, whilst men get assigned the "hard" subject matter such as economic, technology, and defence*. One encouraging sign, however, is the number of women majors in European cities, such as Ada Colau in Barcelona, Anne Hidalgo in Paris, and Virginia Raggi in Rome. Many of these women represent new or smaller parties bringing new faces to the local government level, which has so far been dominated by men*.
Within the Green/EFA Group, women's representation currently stands at 41.2%, which we believe is still not enough. We will only be satisfied once we cross the half-way mark, even if quotas are only a stepping stone towards a political system that can equally embrace and support everyone's needs and capabilities. Of course, women play an active role in Green politics and we are proud of our tradition of having both male and female co-chairs. Co-president of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament Ska Keller was also the only female leading candidate among the different political groups in the 2014 European elections. We will continue to monitor participation in politics and urge European leaders to ensure that quotas of women politicians are met to guarantee better representation. To build a feminist Europe, we need to usher in the next generation of women leaders.
Tune in tomorrow for the next area where the Greens are hoping to have an impact: the Gender Paygap.
* Source: Women leading the way in Brussels by Claudia de Castro Calderinha and Corinna Hörst