Ahead of International Women’s Day, the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions together with PES Women is launching today a Europe-wide campaign inviting cities, municipalities and regions to declare themselves a #SafePlace4Women.
The relevant resolution, which will be presented at today’s PES Group meeting “It's women's time! Ending gender inequality and violence in every place” in Valencia, sets out 12 measures that aim at translating the principle of zero-tolerance to violence against women into concrete actions.
Christophe Rouillon, President of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions and Mayor of Coulaines, France, declared: “It is in cities, municipalities and regions around Europe that women experience every day the many facets of violence. Making Europe a safe place for all women requires strong political commitment. Attacking women undermines our model of egalitarian societies. As elected women and men of progressive municipalities and regions, we call on local and regional leaders to take action to protect all women against all forms of violence and harassment, including domestic violence, rape and sexual assaults, street harassment and work intimidation, which continue to haunt women and remain largely unpunished.”
Zita Gurmai, President of PES Women, added: “Violence against women remains one of the greatest threats to achieving true gender equality. Therefore, we must do everything in our power to combat gender-based violence at every level across the EU. Due to their proximity to citizens, local and regional authorities are well-placed to respond more directly to women’s needs and to provide material support through gender-sensitive policies and service delivery. Indeed, in some countries, local and regional authorities are doing more than the national level as they can bring real change on the ground. This is why we call upon cities and regional authorities to further solidify their commitment to eradicating gender-based violence by declaring their localities as safe places for women!”
Ximo Puig i Ferrer, President of the Regional Government of Valencia, and member of the PES Group, underlined: “Sexist terrorism is the main problem of this society. Violence against women begins verbally, when the words used simply insult, threaten and degrade, women, and this has often its basis in the structural inequalities affecting many women. Public policies are essential to confront this reality. This is why we have promoted pioneering actions in Spain in the fight against gender-based violence. A good example of this is the launch of the largest network of offices to assist victims of crime in Spain, which serves 70 % of women victims of gender-based violence and offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary assistance. This is a good tool to advance across Europe the goals of the Safe Place for Women campaign, to which we fully subscribe.”
Katarina Barley, Executive Vice-President of the Party of European Socialists (PES), emphasised: “One out of three women in Europe has experienced physical or sexual violence. We must not ignore the magnitude of this problem. We Social Democrats stand for zero-tolerance towards violence against women. Every place in Europe must be a safe place for women. I therefore call on all cities, municipalities and regions to act and to declare themselves a #SafePlace4Women.”
Vasco Alves Cordeiro, President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: “Gender equality is a prerequisite to achieve a fairer and stronger Europe. This is also true in our cities and regions, where it is encouraging to see how many are taking action. Nevertheless, too many women still experience violence and discrimination. We must stop all forms of gender-based violence. By joining the #SafePlace4Women campaign, cities and regions will commit to building a better future where everyone can live free from violence and discrimination.”