GUE/NGL
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Time to break the silence on gender inequality

To mark International Women's Day, GUE/NGL expresses its continued commitment to the fight for gender equality and women's rights.

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said: “Every day in all areas of life activists are fighting for women's rights. Outdated stereotypes and power structures in Europe mean women are more likely to be paid less, work in precarious employment, and hit the glass ceiling in their careers. In many countries, women's freedom to make choices about their own bodies is being undermined. We stand with activists fighting against dismissal for wage adjustments, a legal quota for women on boards and for the right to abortion.

“Women's rights are human rights. We must break the silence about continuing inequalities and power relations. We want to promote a change in thinking, so that people live in dignity and solidarity.”

Gender equality will be in the spotlight at this week's plenary session which starts tomorrow in Strasbourg. On Tuesday afternoon MEPs will vote on a progress report on equality between women and men in the EU.

Zimmer said: “Far too little has been done in recent years and there have been many setbacks on the road to greater equality. The economic and financial crisis has worsened the situation for many women across Europe who are living in appalling poverty and who are hit hardest by austerity cuts to social and health budgets. Women are increasingly victims of sexual and domestic violence.”

Last week in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL held a conference on feminist self-defence as an empowerment strategy.

Zimmer continued: “Self-defence is a political tool against existing inequalities. Violence against women and girls is always rooted in unequal power relations. Through traditional notions of femininity, many women are not prepared to oppose violence. Feminist self-defence aims to strengthen self-confidence and develop ways in which women and girls can effectively set boundaries.”