"This 8th of March finds us confronted not only with persisting inequalities between women and men across the EU but also with the gender dimension of the refugee crisis", stressed the President of the PES Group.
Catiuscia Marini reminded that, although gender equality is a fundamental value of the EU, enshrined in the Treaties and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, far too many women are still victims of violence and discrimination. The President pointed in particular to the worrying situation of refugee women and girls: "Women and girls fleeing war and conflicts face violence at all stages of their odyssey to the EU, be it in their home country, during the journey, or once they are in Europe. This is why we urgently need a gender sensitive approach, which ensures that their needs are properly addressed", she urged.
"It is the responsibility of grassroots politicians, like ourselves, to first of all, guarantee the safety and security of refugee women once on European soil, ensuring decent conditions in reception centres and offering appropriate healthcare and counselling services", underlined President Marini. "Respecting the dignity of refugee women and showing solidarity with them in our host cities is an important contribution to their empowerment", concluded Marini.
"Reception and integration policies are doomed to fail if they are not gender sensitive", confirmed also Sanchia Alasia, who represents the PES Group in the CoR within the Executive of PES Women. According to her, access for women to language and training courses is essential. "Refugee women and asylum seekers, who are dependent in their overwhelming majority on male counterparts, find it difficult to access information, face cultural barriers and are therefore at high risk of isolation", she explained.
Under the theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality" International Women's Day 2016 underlines the need to accelerate concrete actions towards a more equitable world. It invites to reflect on how to fast-track the implementation of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which recognizes women’s empowerment as a precondition to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It will equally focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.