A feminist Europe – including older women!

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) have published their own electoral manifesto in December 2018. Under the title ‘a new kind of leadership for the 21st century’, EWL is calling to get serious on gender equality in the next term. Many references link to issues experienced by older women and men.

Cover page of the European Women’s Lobby Manifesto 2019: ’50/50, Women for Europe, Europe for Women. A new kind of leadership for the 21st Century. European Women’s Lobby Manifesto for the 2019 European elections’

EWL is calling first and foremost for gender equality in decision-making, making a case against the underrepresentation of women in Parliament, governments, the European Commission and all other theatres of policymaking. ‘[H]alf the population are missing from the rooms and corridors where decisions are made about all of our lives‘. Other points in the manifesto include: ‘A Europe that guarantees women’s equal economic independence‘, ‘A Europe free from violence against women‘, ‘a Europe that provides peace, human security and dignity to all women and girls‘ and ‘a Europe that channels resources for women’s human rights‘.

Besides the claims that benefit women of all ages, EWL’s manifesto makes specific references to older women:

  • Guaranteeing all women’s individual economic independence’: a key precondition in an EU where the gender gap in pension stands at 37%
  • Adopt a “care guarantee”‘: to alleviate many older women from their tasks to care for family members young and old, including by setting ‘European targets for care infrastructure‘ and allocating ‘sufficient funding‘ by member states.
  • ‘Addressing intersecting discrimination’, such as against older wo’men or older migrant women
  • Calls for ‘prohibit[ing] and address[ing] sexism and gender stereotyping in the media and education’, of which specifically older women are suffering as ageism and sexism interact
  • ‘Ensure gendered-sensitive healthcare supports are freely accessible to all women and girls through a Women’s Health Strategy‘, a provision that would benefit older women as well, as there is little focus on women-specific diseases and conditions or symptoms of diseases that may be different for women than for men

Other calls that benefit all women, including older women, focus on acting against violence against women, sexuality education programmes, introduce gender budgeting and gender focal points responsible for gender mainstreaming, providing a financial framework for gender equality, and a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination in all institutions and Parliaments.


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