Home Malta Winds Women’s rights: MEPs call for action to fight backlash against gender equality

Women’s rights: MEPs call for action to fight backlash against gender equality


Ahead of the
64th UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York in March, the European Parliament
spelled out its priorities on Thursday.

In a
resolution adopted by 463 votes in favour, 108 against and 50 abstentions, MEPs
deplore that many of the challenges identified by the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 25 years
ago are still relevant today.

They call on
the Council to ensure a unified EU position and act to counter the backlash
against gender equality and all measures undermining women’s rights.

Setting out
their priorities for the upcoming UNCSW session in
March, MEPs call for measures boosting women’s economic and political

  • greater
    inclusion of women in the labour market;
  • more
    support for female entrepreneurship;
  • close
    the gender pay gap (16%) and pension gap (37%);
  • favour
    domestic and care responsibilities being shared equally;
  • promote
    education for girls and encourage greater participation in STEM (science,
    technology, engineering and maths) careers;
  • promote
    gender-balanced representation at all levels of decision-making, and
  • unblock
    the “Women on Boards Directive” in the Council.

To step up
protection of women, the EU should:

conclude the EU ratification of the Istanbul
Convention on preventing and combating violence against women
; allocate
adequate resources to combat gender-based violence and protect victims, and protect
and promote the rights of groups experiencing multiple and intersectional forms
of discrimination, e.g. women with disabilities, women of colour, migrant women
and LGBTIQ people.

The EU must
act globally by:

  • promoting
    and supporting the inclusion of a specific gender chapter in all future EU
    trade and investment agreements;
  • condemning
    the US ‘global gag’ rule, which cuts US funding for international organisations
    if they provide or lobby for abortion services;
  • significantly
    supporting funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights, and
  • promoting
    greater participation of women in climate action, peacekeeping, peacebuilding
    and mediation processes.


The Beijing Declaration was adopted by the UN at the end
of the 4th World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995 to promulgate a set
of principles on the equality of men and women. The Platform for Action called
for strategic actions in areas such as economy, education, health, violence and

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