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Parliament adopts important report defending gender equality – but struggle continues

A report that recognises the need for more progress on gender equality has been adopted by the European Parliament this morning – despite dirty political tactics from the EPP and ECR groups to delete any reference to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), particularly the right to abortion.

Spanish MEP Ángela Vallina said: “We welcome this report's adoption despite the right-wing attempts to weaken some of the important references to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and access to abortion. Their strategy was to use the argument that the formulation, implementation, and delivery of health and medical services are member state competences.

“The EU must act when a lack of access to health services impacts on women's fundamental rights – as is the case in certain member states. Women must have access to contraception and abortion so they can make their own decisions about their bodies. That is a fundamental right of the EU.”

Swedish MEP Malin Björk said: “This is the most important report on gender equality at the EU-level and it tells us that we have such a long way to go. The statistics are very telling. We have so much more work to do when it comes to reducing the pay gap, increasing access to child care and the importance of women being able to live free from the threat of violence.

“I'm very happy that we won this first victory against the anti-choice movement. But this is a struggle we will have to continue for many years to come”

Portuguese MEP Inês Zuber commented on the impact of the European Commission's actions on gender equality:

“We need more focus on the impact the European Semester has on women and how the European Commission's political guidelines are actually responsible for the destruction of certain rights that have led to lower wages, pushing women into exploitation and poverty – and in some dramatic cases into prostitution.

“The European Commission says it wants to defend women's rights yet it has scrapped the revision of the maternity directive which is all about improving equality between women and men.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group