Gender Equality: EFA launches its Women’s Forum

On Wednesday, the European Free Alliance successfully launched its new Women’s Forum. 

The group will act as a new space for reflection and discussion, and to organise new ways to move forward from words to deeds on the issue of gender equality. 

The online launch was held on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The event was moderated by Maylis Rossberg of SSW-Ungdom, the youth branch of EFA member party the SSW, and a number of high-profile speakers from across Europe took part in the discussion, giving their perspectives on a range of issues such as cultural activism and women’s participation in politics.

Speakers included former Catalan MP and environmental scientist Mireia Boya, and the HDP vice-chair of foreign affairs Feleknas Uca, who was at one time the world’s only Yazidi parliamentarian. The SNP’s National Women’s Convenor Rhiannon Spears also participated, and the Women’s Forum welcomed news that the Scottish Government announced that it would provide free and universal access to period products – the first country in the world to do so. 

After the roundtable, the Women’s Forum was closed with a statement from former President of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, who since 2017 has been serving a prison sentence of 11 years and 6 months allowing a debate on independence to be held in the Catalan Parliament. 

The EFA Women Forum will establish a prize to be awarded to individuals or organisations working for the empowerment of women in politics, the Bassa-Forcadell Award, named after political prisoners Carme Forcadell and Dolors Bassa, former Catalan minister who was sentenced to 12 years on the charge of ‘rebellion’ in 2017. 

Of EFA’s member parties, 7 have women as leaders: Ana Pontón (BNG), Agueda Micó (BNV), Eba Blanco (EA), Lydie Massard (UDB), Tsigdem Asafoglou (DEB), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), and Peggy Eriksson (ÅF).

President Lorena López de Lacalle said:

In the spirit of fostering our own synergies, the EFA family is today launching the EFA Women Forum.

As a European Political Party with 47 member parties across Europe, we commit ourselves to promote women’s empowerment and networking.

Carme Forcadell, former President of the Catalan Parliament said: 

It is true that there are more elected women in politics but it does not necessarily mean that they have the power that goes with it.

We must continue the struggle to eradicate toxic masculinity from all decision-making spaces and structures.”

As part of the event a joint text, the Flensburg Declaration, was agreed. Named after the original location of the EFA General Assembly before postponement due to the pandemic, the declaration is a 10-point action plan to promote the participation of women and girls in politics and committing to achieve gender parity. Read the text of the Flensburg Declaration here

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A video of the event will be available online shortly.