Green Party Women

More Women Needed At Top Of EU Government, says Green MEP

10 September 2009

Europe’s leaders must ensure that women and men in the EU are represented equally in decision-making processes at the very highest levels of European government, said a Green Euro-MP today.

In a letter to Gordon Brown ahead of a summit in October at which the European Council will handle nominations for the EU’s so-called “top jobs”, Caroline Lucas MEP called for the Prime Minister to do his utmost to ensure the equal representation of women and men in the important nominations to be made.

The European Summit, to take placebetween 29-30 October, will decide nominations for the first ever Council President, the incoming EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, and the members of the new European Commission (1).

The South East Green MEP said: “Together with the European Women’s Lobby 50/50 Campaign for Democracy (2), I urge Europe’s leaders to seize this excellent opportunity to make the EU more equal and democratic.

“It is the shared responsibility of European governments to ensure that the outcome of this selection reflects the fact that women represent half of the European population – and that European policies at the highest level need to unequivocally reflect the needs and aspirations of all Europeans.

“The new face of the European Union must reflect the fundamental European values of justice and equality.”

Earlier this week, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published the results of an official inquiry into gender discrimination in the British workplace, which found that women earn around 80% less than men in performance-related pay at some of the UK’s leading finance companies (3).

It was also found that more than eight out of 10 women starting new jobs are paid lower average salaries than men.

At Green Party conference last weekend, the acting director of the Fawcett Society, Rowena Lewis, highlighted the Society’s 2008 report calling for boardroom quotas to improve the representation of women and address the pay gap – something which the Green Party has long supported.

Quotas are already a reality in some countries. When Norway called on firms to have 40% women on their boards – a percentage adopted by the Greens – it was found that, contrary to expectations of a shortage of suitable candidates, there was a wealth of high quality female applicants.

Notes

1) A number of these jobs will only come into being if the Irish government ratifies the Lisbon Treaty.

2) The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is the largest coalition of women’s organisations in the EU present in 28 Member States and accession countries, representing over 2500 member organisations.







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