Press Service of the Greens/EFA Group
Press release 13.03.08
The European parliament today adopted a Green proposal to create the post of a European Women’s Envoy (1). At the same time, the Greens also launched a petition open for all EU citizens to sign in order to show their support for the idea (http://www.womensenvoy.eu).
Green MEP Kathalijne Buitenweg (The Netherlands) said after the vote:
“Parliament today has shown its support for women’s rights by voting for our proposal to introduce the post of an EU women’s envoy. In addition we have made the initiative available for all citizens to join to show that there is indeed a strong will among Europeans to help in emancipating women.
The European Union needs an EU women’s envoy to make sure that women’s rights are taken into account at all levels of policy making. Her role in international relations would be especially important. According to the United Nations, if the international community fails to strengthen women’s rights, the fight against hunger and poverty will be lost from the start. As in other fields, Europe has to take the lead.”
Green MEP Satu Hassi (Finland) added:
Without women it will be impossible to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, which were signed by nearly all of the countries in the world eight years ago. Poverty, child and maternal mortality, literacy, HIV/Aids and environmental pollution were to be considerably reduced by the year 2015. Half of this time has passed and it looks as if most of the goals will not be met.
Numerous studies have shown that the empowerment of women is the most cost efficient way to speed up development. If women do not get equal access to education, jobs and property and do not have better sexual and reproductive health care, development will be slowed down.
The EU must advance the emancipation of women. Not only within EU countries but also abroad, as a part of an effective development policy. We have signed treaties to advance human rights and democracy with developing countries in exchange for economic privileges, however, when it comes to women’s rights, these instruments are not put to use.
Notes by editor:
1) The proposal was introduced as an amendment to the report on “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development Cooperation” by German MEP Feleknas Uca.