EU should do more for women's rights

4 March 2010

EU should do more for women's rights

New York – What is needed globally if we are to work on the further strengthening of women's rights? This was the question addressed by representatives from throughout the world who gathered this week in New York, brought together by a United Nations Commission whose aim is to examine the state of play in regard to the results of the agreements concluded in 1995 during the UN conference in Beijing.

Kartika LiotardThe group representing the European Parliament included the SP's Kartika Liotard along with Eva-Britt Svensson of the Vänster (Left) Party, the SP's sister party in Sweden. Svensson is chairwoman of the European Parliament Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, which has noted that, on a global level, progress had been made on only a few of the issues defined as 'action areas' in Beijing.

Global agenda

Eva-Britt Svensson and Kartika Liotard were representing the United Left group of the European Parliament, and in their view the EU should be setting a global agenda for women's rights, including the reproductive rights of women, and health and economic rights, while the UN should be acting to ensure structural progress towards gender equality. Yet at the beginning of the meeting in New York, the official papers appeared to Svennson and Liotard to focus neither on economic and social inequality, nor on the sexual and reproductive rights of women.


Liotard described it as "disturbing", also, that "the most democratic institution of the EU" – the European Parliament – appeared content to fill only a modest role, having "not once debated subjects of importance to women, such as their poverty or insecure employment. Aren't those a feature of these times, though?" Globally, 70% of people who live in poverty are women, while two out of every three hours worked are worked by women and the bulk of the world's agricultural product is cultivated by women. Yet they earn just 10% of global income and own only 2% of the world's property.


Violence against women is a special theme relating to International Women's Day, March 8th. The European Parliament website contains more information on this important subject.

International Women's Day 2010

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