The University Women of Europe (UWE) was founded in 1981 in order to enable UWE to participate in the progressive development of European society. Its aim is to work towards an achievement of the goals of the Council of Europe but also to cooperate with all other European governmental and non-governmental organisations dealing with European matters and in particular questions affecting the lives of women.The University Women of Europe is a network of graduate women associations and federations from 16 countries working in partnership with the Council of Europe and the European Women’s Lobby to address issues impacting the lives of women throughout the European community. The UWE is a regional group of Graduate Women International.
After the Second World War the European world changed rapidly. Several international institutions were founded, like the Council of Europe in 1949 and the European Economic Community in 1957. In 1952 the Council of Europe created the possibility to obtain Consultative Status for international non-governmental organizations. At the occasion of the 16th IFUW Conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, a small group of participants took the initiative for the European associations/federations to start studying the consequences of the European developments for their organisations. Several meetings were held and in 1975, Jans Gremmée inquired at the IFUW headquarters if and how headquarters could help to further nomination of capable European women in positions of influence and decision-making in the new Europe. IFUW answered that it would undertake activities on a global level only. This meant that for any actions to the further interests of women in Europe, European associations/federations had to bundle their forces at a regional, European level.
In 1977 a few European participants at the 19th IFUW Conference Stirling, Scotland, took up the initiative to realize the Consultative Status for a new NGO to be founded for the University Women in Europe. A proposal thereto was launched by German DAB’s Gisela Kessel (†) and the Dutch VVAO’s Jans Gremmée in 1978. Several meetings were held and
during a meeting in Luxembourg 28-29. November 1981 UWE started its official life. At that time, fourteen European NFAs (countries) participated. The Seat was to be in Switzerland. In 1982 the first Executive was chosen, with Jans Gremmée as its president.
Nowadays UWE is a network of Associations of University Women from sixteen European countries working in partnership with the Council of Europe and the European Women’s Lobby to address issues impacting the lives of academic women throughout the European community. Its aim is to work towards an achievement of the goals of the Council of Europe and also to cooperate with all other European governmental and non-governmental organizations dealing with European matters and in particular questions affecting the lives of academic women.
Today, the University Women of Europe enjoys participatory status with the Council of Europe (www.coe.int). Participatory status is granted to INGOs which are particularly representative in the field(s) of their competence at European level, and which through their work are capable of supporting the achievement of closer unity as stated in Article 1 of the Statute of the Council of Europe, by contributing to its activities and by publicizing its work among European citizens. We participate in various projects as consultants; contribute to the work of intergovernmental committees on an institutionalized or ad-hoc basis, prepare memoranda for the Secretary General, make oral or written statements to the committees of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and address seminars and other meetings organised by the Council of Europe. For more information on these committees and groups please refer to the part of this website related to the committees and transversal groups.
UWE is also currently a Member of the Executive Board of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL). The European Women’s Lobby represents more than 4.000 women’s associations and is the largest coalition of women’s associations in Europe (www.womenlobby.org).
Membership in UWE is open to any European national federation or association affiliated with the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), Graduated Women International (GWI) since 2015.