EFA Women’s Forum works on promoting women’s empowerment in politics with its first mentoring event
The goal of the session was to provide the participants with tools to overcome the main challenges women face in politics, both from an activist and elected politician perspective
EFA’s feminist body, the Women’s Forum, keeps up with its work toward increasing gender equality and promoting the participation of women in politics. With this goal, the Women’s Forum organized on 27 June its first internal mentoring event, a space to listen to the experiences of notorious women taking part in politics and share experiences. Almost 30 women from EFA member parties all over Europe gathered together in the online event and received advice and tools to overcome the main challenges that women face in politics.
The session was divided into two panels. The first one was led by women with an activist background. The main speakers were the Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby Mary Collins, and the EFAY Secretary General and member of Südschleswigsche Voters’ Association-Jugend Maylis Rossberg. Mary Collins stressed the need to create networks such as EFA Women’s Forum to support each other and learn from one another. Maylis Rossberg highlighted the need for sticking to values that you want to promote, and to fight for them regardless of prejudices that society may still have for being a young woman in politics.
The second panel titled “Standing for elections and getting elected” counted on the contribution of the former EFA MEP Jill Evans, EFA MEP Diana Riba, the co-spokesperson of UDB Lydie Massard, and the recently elected Udine councillor Stefania Garlatti-Costa. All of them are women with very different experiences and political backgrounds, but they are all working at the same time at different territorial levels in promoting self-determination, diversity and human rights. Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru) and Diana Riba (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya) shared their respective experiences in the process of running for elections for the first time and accessing the European Parliament. Lydie Massard pointed out the support received from a female colleague to get through her first steps into the local politics, while Stefania Garlatti-Costa noted that women running for elections usually tend to look for consensus rather than focusing on media and results.
The EFA Women’s Forum coordinators, Katharina Kley (EFAY) and Joanie Willett (Mebyon Kernow), together with EFA President Lorena López de Lacalle, thanked the generous and sincere contributions of all the speakers and the interest of the EFA women who took part in the discussions. The EFA Women’s Forum is also currently working in developing policies for improving gender equality that will be included in EFA’s manifesto for European elections 2024.