The recommendation of the Council of Europe on the need to strengthen the protection and promotion of civil society space in Europe

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The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted a recommendation to member States to take effective measures to protect and promote civil society space.

Civil society organizations are invited to bring this recommendation to the attention of national authorities, ask for its translation into the national language and monitor its implementation by their governments.

Adopted by the Committee of Ministers at the 1330th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies, on 28 November 2018, the recommendation calls on member states to ensure an enabling legal framework and a conducive political and public environment for civil society organisations, human rights defenders, individuals, groups, and national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights (NHRIs) to freely carry out activities,  on a legal basis, consistent with international law and standards, to strive for the protection and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Governments of member States are asked to ensure that the principles set out in the Recommendation are complied with in relevant national legislation and practice, to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the measures taken and to examine, within the Committee of Ministers, the implementation of this Recommendation in five years’ time.

Member States are also called to ensure a wide dissemination of this Recommendation among competent authorities and stakeholders, including the translation in the National language, where appropiate.



Source: www.coe.int


Report UWE President Anne Nègre – Council of Europe’s World Democracy Forum 2018 and Human Rights

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The Council of Europe’s World Democracy Forum held from 19 to 21 November 2018 in Strasbourg on “Gender Equality and Women’s Rights” saw a variety of interventions showing clear progress but also brakes.

On the official website you can find the programs, in and out, the interventions, the podcasts of Labs.

Moderating Lab 7 –  Will closing the gender gap in the economy lead to greater political equality? was a pleasure, in front of the 3 initiatives also sponsored by the Department of Bas-Rhin. The 3 initiatives lead to raising awareness of the world of work on equality issues in three different ways, one created by the State, the second starting from the base and the last of a self-referral of women executives in companies
“Talent naar de top” is presented by the Talent to the Top Foundation Netherlands, offers companies a Talent to the Top Charter, an employers’ code to make a voluntary commitment for an effective and sustainable gender diversity policy.
The second initiative, “Fearless Futures”, from the United Kingdom, answers personal questions including homophobia, racism, to move towards awareness of inequality through training that reinforces a community of lived experiences that focus on fight for equality.
Finally, the third initiative, “Le Cercle Inter’Elles“, a network of networks, started with women in specialized technology and science companies, stating the stumbling blocks of careers, salaries and women in decision-making positions, with an articulation of professional life. and family life. Men think with them, and act within companies.
Moreover, faithful to our voted Resolution on the use of the expression Human Rights instead of Human Rights, I addressed the question in plenary to Marlene Schiappa, Secretary of State to the Prime Minister, in charge Equality between women and men and the fight against discrimination, France, 19 November 2018 in the morning.
In response she said that since March 8, 2018, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France, supports the expression human rights in places and places of Human Rights.  For more information, in french:
So we must spread this important news that unblocks the situation since it is the French state that prevented the use of this expression. Nothing else opposes it.


Dr. Anne Nègre
President University Women of Europe
Vice President of the Council of Europe’s Conference of INGOs

Sudden Death of Former UWE President Willemijn Van Der Meer

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IFUW Board 2010-2013 at the 91st Council Meeting represented by (from left to right):Treasurer Catherine Bell , Vice Presidents Willemijn Van Der Meer, Jenny Strauss, Anne Negre, President Marianne Haselgrave and Leigh Bradford Ratteree, the Secretary General


Dear Friends,
We have just learned about the sudden death of our friend  Willemijn van der Meer with great sadness.
For years, she was a figure of young women involved in IFUW, tireless advocate for working with her. Always devoted, she became president of UWE then we were at the same time vice president of IFUW from 2010 to 2013 under the presidency of Marianne Haselgrave.
On behalf of you all, I extend the most sincere condolences to her family.
For the Board,
Anne Nègre
President University Women of Europe

Unequal Pay Day – call for improved gender equality in the workplace

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31 October marks the Equal Pay Day, the day from which women effectively work for free until the end of the year compared to their male counterparts. The gender pay gap currently stands at 16,2% in the European Union, exceeding 20% in countries like Estonia and Czech Republic. This adds to the gender inequalities women face across their life-cycle and affects each one of them differently, depending on their race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, level of education, location and other social or personal circumstances. 

European Women’s Lobby and University Women of Europe are calling for increased efforts to end the gender pay gap. Even though the principle of equal pay for equal work was enshrined in the 1957 founding Treaty of the EU, European women continue to face discrimination in the job market and to earn less than men.

In addition, because women are paid less, they contribute less to their pensions and this translates into a wide pension gap and higher risk of poverty for older women. Their pension income is negatively influenced both by the gender pay gap and by the time spent out of the labor-market to care for children and other dependent family members, together with women’s over representation in part-time work and in low paid sectors of the economy.

To effectively tackle the gender pay gap, it is necessary to address its multiple and complex root causes, starting from the lack of high quality, accessible and affordable care services. As we have seen, women are penalized throughout their lives for the things they do to keep society functioning, that is care responsibilities. There are a number of important mechanisms already in place or in the pipe-line at the EU-level to lift this weight from women’s shoulders, and the EU Institutions need to demonstrate political will in putting them to use without delay.

One such measure is the so-called “Work-life Balance Directive”, for which the Council agreed its negotiating position (general approach) in June. The Proposal entails the strengthening of parental leave by making the 2 months period non-transferable, the introduction of a carers’ leave and the extension of flexible working arrangement for carers. While the scope of these measures has been sensibly reduced in comparison with the original Commission’s proposal, their adoption would enable women to retain their economic independence while having children and to return swiftly to payed work.

Therefore, we call for a swift adoption of the Proposal for a Directive on Work-Life Balance, followed by enforcement and monitoring. While it is not a magic wand, we believe that this would be a first step towards closing the gender pay gap and ensuring a more equal society for everybody.

Read the statement by the European Commission
Find here the action by PES Women for Unequal Pay Day

For More Information

The gender pay gap in the EU

Work Life Balance Eurobarometer

Work Life Balance proposal

EIGE’s gender equality factsheets based on the results of EIGE’s Gender Equality Index 2017.

Report on pay openness in Finland

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Thanks to our members in Finland, we share with all of you the news that a report on pay openness, compiled by Ombudsman for Equality Jukka Maarianvaara, was submitted to Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services from Finland on 16 October. It should be an inspiring tool for other countries fighting with the same issue: the gender pay gap. 

According to the Press Release published by Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the main conclusion of the report  was that the individual employee’s right of access to pay data should be improved. 

Report on pay openness (Reports and Memorandums of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 41/2018) (in Finnish)

According to Maarianvaara, the Act on Equality between Women and Men should be amended by including more detailed provisions on pay surveys to reveal unfounded differences in employees’ pay. The purpose of pay surveys is to find out whether women and men are treated equally in terms of the pay.

Maarianvaara stresses that the key means to promote pay openness is legislation. Appropriate legislation enables to take account of the rights of employers and all employees in an equitable manner, also including matters such as personal data protection. The legislation is supplemented by measures by labor market organisations and at workplaces.

“The right to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value and to non-discrimination are fundamental rights. Increased openness of data on what people are paid for their work is a necessity in order that this fundamental right is a reality. It is also important to keep in mind that other fundamental and human rights are not an obstacle to wider pay openness”, says Professor Kevät Nousiainen.

How to proceed?

The thorough work by Maarianvaara brings forth problems relating to pay openness and means to solve these. Pay discrimination is difficult to verify if sufficient pay data is not available says Minister Annika Saarikko. Often the pay surveys at workplaces are not detailed enough and the staff representatives do not have sufficient access to pay data to make comparisons.

More efficient means are needed to bridge the pay differences between women and men, and pay openness is one of these. Maarianvaara’s excellent work deserves concrete action as a follow-up.

”What I will do is invite a tripartite working group to draft a proposal on legislative amendments required to strengthen pay openness. The term of the working group must be such that the proposals are available to be used at the government formation talks next year. The working group can base its work on Jukka Maarianvaara’s report, but other means may also be considered”, says Minister Saarikko.

Minister Saarikko appointed Maarianvaara to compile the report in April 2018.


The University Women of Europe has filed collective complaints for application of the Social Charter in the 47 countries members of the Council of Europe stating women are not treated equal as they earn structurally less than men for equal work. As an international INGO, UWE is allowed to submit a collective complaint of violation of the European Social Charter. 

More information about this and other useful links here at our page:



UWE Meet and greet 2019 – SAVE THE DATE

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Dear all,

We are pleased to invite you to the next UWE Meet and Greet event in Dundee (City of Discovery) on 17th – 19th May 2019. The University of Dundee and the City Chambers are already confirmed as venues for this event which will be a combination of Discussion, Friendship and Culture
This year, our Conference theme is “My Identity. My Story“. 

Dundee is currently very much on the map with the opening of the new V&A Museum leading renewed showcasing of the city as a whole. Dundee has long been famous for Jam, Jute and Journalism, cities change as do people. Change has inspired our theme: our stories and how these interplay with our many identities, not least as women.

We are looking forward to meeting you, speakers will be announced very soon along with the information about the registration etc. and we hope that a number of you will be able to join us in Scotland next year. 

The Conference is open to all members of the University Women of Europe and their friends.


Anne Negre

University Women of Europe

Fiona Sutherland

Graduate Women Scotland




Nominations for Women of Europe Awards 2018

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We are once again invited by European Women’s Lobby to send nominations for Women of Europe Awards 2018 – deadline 30 September.  The call for nominations has just been launched, all our UWE members can nominate one candidate per category.

Please send us an email to boarduwe@gmail.com until 28 September, containing following information:


Name of the nominee
Date of birth
Country of residence
Contact details of the nominee (email or phone)
What is the key achievement of the nominee? (max. 100 words)
Relevant links on the project or work of the nominee
Why should the nominee receive the Woman in Power Award? (max. 300 words)


About the Awards

The Women of Europe Awards are organised by the European Movement International and the European Women’s Lobby, building upon the national awards of several National European Movement Councils. The awards are handed out annually to honour women striving to advance the European project in their professional or private capacity. The role of women in the European project remains largely unrecognised, and the awards highlight the contribution of women in promoting and advancing European issues, and to increase the presence and involvement of women in debates about Europe and its future.

Read about last year’s Awards here.

2018 Prize categories:

  • Woman in Power – showing extraordinary political leadership in Europe
  • Woman in Action – undertaking extraordinary actions at grassroots level in Europe
  • Woman in Business – advancing European integration with entrepreneurial spirit
  • Woman in Youth Activism – for women aged 15 to 30 strengthening the voice of young women in Europe (organised in cooperation with the European Youth Forum)


 You must nominate your candidates by 28 SEPTEMBER , the UWE Board will fill the nomination form and send it to European Women’s Lobby until 30 September.

University Women of Europe as member organisation of the European Women’s Lobby is eligible to nominate one candidate for each of the four categories. Nominations by members of member organisations or non-members are ineligible. In case of overlapping memberships, the limit of one nomination per category remains.

Award Gala

The Awards will be handed out in Brussels at the end of November. An exact date will be communicated in the coming weeks.