Resolution for more Women on Boards adopted in EU Parliament

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40% of seats on company boards for women

Companies listed on stock exchanges in the EU would have to bring in transparent recruitment procedures so that by 2020, at least 40% of their non-executive directors are women, under a draft EU directive voted by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs propose that companies which fail to introduce such procedures should face penalties. In 2013, only 17.6% of non-executive board members of the EU’s largest companies were women.

The resolution was adopted by 459 in favour to 148 against, with 81 abstentions in the EU parliament. .“We adopted a consistent resolution and sent out a strong signal to the Council, but also to European stakeholders and societies” said Women’s Rights Committee co-rapporteur Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou (EPP, EL). “It is essential for listed companies to evolve so as to include highly skilled women in their decision-making processes, with a view to achieving competitiveness, while fully respect EU principles and values of equality“, she added.
“The resolution clarifies and improves the open, transparent procedure for appointing non-executive board members to listed companies. Parliament has done its homework, and now it’s the turn of the Council to move on, finish this directive together with us and the Commission before the European elections, so as to move closer to gender equality within European companies. This will demonstrate to our citizens that we are fighting for non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all in the labour market”, said Legal Affairs Committee co-rapporteur Evelyn Regner (S&D, AT).
Transparent and gender-balanced recruitment procedure
MEPs call on member states to ensure that listed companies take effective and binding measures to guarantee equal access for both women and men to non-executive positions on boards so as to ensure that by 2020, at least 40% of non-executive directors’ positions are held by women. Public companies would have to reach the target already by 2018
Where candidates are equally well qualified, priority should go to the candidate of under-represented sex. MEPs stress that qualifications and merit must remain the key criteria.
The hiring rules would not apply to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), i.e. those that employ fewer than 250 persons. MEPs nonetheless encourage EU member states to support SMEs and give them incentives to improve gender balance on their boards, too.
Companies that fail to abide by the rules will be required to explain why and notify competent national authorities on the measures taken and planned to achieve the target in future.
Penalties such as fines should be imposed for failing to follow transparent appointment procedures, rather than for failing to achieve the target, MEPs say. They propose that “exclusion from public calls for tenders” should be added to the list of possible penalties, which should be made mandatory, rather than indicative, as the Commission proposes.
Next steps
To take effect, the directive needs to be endorsed by the Council of Ministers.

Save the date: invitation visit to Amsterdam and UWE board 9,10,11 May 2014.

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Several actions of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) need our support! Next week you will receive draft letters to send to your respective authorities and ask for implementation of the Istanbul Convention!

Also a ‘save the date announcement. A visit Amsterdam and the UWE board is schedules on 9,10 and 11 of May 2014. Starting the 9th of May in the evening with a reception at the house of the President of the UWE as it is Europe Day, next day workshops on Council of Europe and European Union including the work at the EWL and hopefully an introduction to the work of the UWE Board for potential candidates.
Invited are Cer’s, presidents of the NFA’s, potential candidates and other interest groups. Together with the Dutch NFA from Amsterdam the sunday will be dedicated to cultural and friendship events.
Mind, we can only continue this program if at least 10 members participate. If you start looking for flights, train trips this early the cost will be rather low!

Interested? Keep an eye on the website and let me know if you are planning to come at (don’t reply this mail that doesn’t work!!)

Met vriendelijke groet,


UWE in the news in Marbella (Spain) newspapers

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Three newspaper articles with large pictures was the result of my speech on my work at the EUPOl, the European police mission in the town hall in Marbella Spain on 21 October 2013. The president and CER (Garbine and Sabine) invited me for a visit to the Marbella and treated me and my family (we were having our autumn holidays in Spain) for a great lunch and a sight seeing tour. The Marbella branch of the University women used the occasion to cooperate with the Gender expert of Marbella and so it happened that my speech in English was translated in Spanish and over 60 people came to listen and ask questions on Afghanistan and gender issues. As the press was also interested in the UWE as a network we had quite some press coverage.

Garbine, Sabine, Blanca, Marga and all other members of the Marbella Branch thank you for a great day. UWE president visits Marbella University women University Women Marbella

European Women’s Lobby publishes feminist overview of women’s rights and gender equality in Europe!

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Facts and figures on women’s rights and gender equality are not easy to obtain and compare as every country has its own system. The European Women’s Lobby is pleased to introduce its latest publication Women’s Watch 2012-2013, a feminist overview of women’s rights and gender equality in Europe. This publication is the first of its kind – a genuinely feminist appraisal of the situation on the ground in 30 European countries with regards to women’s rights and gender equality, judged by the yardstick of the European Women’s Lobby’s ideals. The Women’s Watch report is a snapshot of the situation during a two year period (2012-2013) and looks both at legislation and statistical data with 30 very short country pages. The report looks at women’s situation and gender equality in three main areas: women in decision-making, women’s economic independence and care responsibilities, and violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights, while also looking at the links between those areas.

Main findings:
Women in decision making
Women are increasingly visible in elected office, however when it comes to real positions of decision making power; heads of political parties, senior ministries, positions on corporate boards, women disappear. The report also sees that the incremental approach to participation in decision-making without binding measures has been effective in some countries, but it concludes that this has taken decades and that as European elections approach there is no more time to waste: parity works, let’s implement it!

Women’s economic independence and care responsibilities
The report observes that the crisis and austerity policies are potentially jeopardising decades of progress towards gender equality. Women’s employment rates had been growing steadily but have stalled in the last year and the quality of women’s work is decreasing. The gender pay and pensions gap are persistent and are one facet of the impact of provision of care places for children and for the elderly on women’s lives and choices. Therefore the report demands a multi-layered approach that focuses on equality in paid and unpaid work between women and men and on the promotion of women’s economic independence.

Violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights
There is still a high discrepancy between legislations addressing violence against women throughout Europe, therefore creating inequalities between women in terms of protection from violence. Violence against women also remains invisible because of the lack of data, at European and national level. This is why the EWL is calling for a European Strategy and Year to raise awareness and develop consistent action to end this pervasive violation of women’s rights. In terms of women’s sexual and reproductive rights, the report shows that the right to abortion is still not granted everywhere in Europe, and that there is an obvious lack of sexuality education, which is instrumental for achieving equality between men and women.

With European parliamentary elections and a newly appointed European Commission on the agenda in 2014, the EWL, the largest women’s NGO umbrella organisation in Europe,urges decision-makers at all levels to take into account the findings of this Women’s Watch report and to use them as a tool for change towards full equality between women and men, in all spheres of life, including public policies. To download the Women’s Watch in PDF format, click here

For theme specific pages, please click on the theme

Women in decision-making (ENG/FR)

Women’s economic independence and care responsibilities (ENG/FR)

Violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights (ENG/FR)

For country specific pages, please click on the country Austria – Belgium – Bulgaria –Croatia – Cyprus – Czech Republic – Denmark – Estonia – Finland – France – FYROM –Germany– Greece – Hungary – Ireland – Italy– Latvia– Lithuania – Luxembourg – Malta –Netherlands – Poland – Portugal – Romania – Slovakia– Slovenia – Spain – Sweden – Turkey– United Kingdom

More info on UWE

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Do you know you that on you can find more information about UWE and the contact persons of the NFAs?

And if have any information you wish to share with other UWE members,  please send a mail to Feel free to share the adress of the website and the option to subscribe to the website to get regular updates with anyone who might be interested,

Free digital course on EU in Global governance

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The EU is an economic giant but often perceived as a political dwarf and a military worm. By addressing the greatest challenges to EU external relations, the MOOC explains the law and policy aspects of the EU in global governance. This digital course is free and seems quite interesting. This is your change for a a quick and interesting course on the workings of the EU. More info:

Call for action in European local democracy week concerning Lampedusa

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Our Vice President dr. Vera John-Mikolakjewski in her capacity as Vice President of Committee on Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges of the INGO’s of the Council of Europe asks your attention for the Local democracy week and Lampedusa, calling for a review of international treaties on the rights of refugees. They invite the European Union and Council of Europe Member States to follow a true cooperation policy and to fight efficiently against the criminal activity of traffickers and smugglers. We urge you, dear colleagues, to relay such call to parliamentarians, national and local governments of the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe.

Committee on Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges

Dear Colleagues,

How can we celebrate the European Democracy Week, while many of those who want to join our democracies die every day so close to our shores ? It took so many deaths till finally European peoples and governments are moved !

Driven by poverty, political, racial, tribal or religious persecution, thousands of men, women and children take the greatest risks to try to survive or live better.

Many of our NGOs are committed with migrants and survivors of disasters, in Lampedusa on other shores. The Council of Europe cannot stand by and do nothing to prevent such tragedies .

We demand respect for the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights so that the interceptions thrown by Frontex, the ” European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders”, go along with measures of effective rescue, consistent with human rights and the rights of refugees. Physical strength, in case of shipwreck, must not be the only criterion of admission on our soil !

We call for a review of international treaties on the rights of refugees

We invite the European Union and Council of Europe Member States to follow a true cooperation policy and to fight efficiently against the criminal activity of traffickers and smugglers.

We urge you, dear colleagues, to relay such call to parliamentarians, national and local governments of the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe.

You will find it also on our website following this link

With our best regards,







Quota for women on boards?!

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Today, Monday 14 October 2013 from 15.00 – 15.30h in room ASP 5 G-3  the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the Committee on Legal Affairs have a Joint committee meeting (Rule 51) to vote on the draft report on “Gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchange”. How do you think about quota for women on boards?

UN Girl Child Day 2013: “Innovating for Girls’ Education”

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On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.  This year’s (2013) Girl Child Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education.

Theme for 2012 was “Ending Child marriage”.  For its first observance International Girl Child Day has focused on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl’s life. Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk to be a victim of violence and abuse, jeopardizes her health and therefore constitutes an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the development of healthy communities.
For its second observance, this year’s (2013) Girl Child Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education”. The fulfilment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.
Recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the 2013 International Day of the Girl Child will address the importance of new technology, but also innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves.

All UN agencies, Member States, civil society organizations, and private sector actors have potential tools to innovate for and with girls to advance their education.
Examples of possible steps include:
• Improved public and private means of transportation for girls to get to school—from roads, buses, mopeds, bicycles to boats and canoes;
• Collaboration between school systems and the banking industry to facilitate secure and convenient pay delivery to female teachers and scholarship delivery to girls;
• Provision of science and technology courses targeted at girls in schools, universities and vocational education programmes;
• Corporate mentorship programmes to help girls acquire critical work and leadership skills and facilitate their transition from school to work;
• Breaking the barriers, it is a must to harness innovation and technology to reach poor and marginalized girls and improve the quality of education for all.                                               ​
Nazan Moroglu
TAUW President

Congratulations to Malala

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Only 16, Malala has become a symbol for women’s right to education, not just in her native Pakistan, but the world and us all. Read more on  The Pakistani schoolgirl became a global inspiration after surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban. In an exclusive interview, she talks about the man who tried to kill her, life in Britain and why she won’t give up campaigning. The book I am Malala will soon be available. book malala