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From Krakow, S&Ds push for the EU Charter of Women’s Rights


03 May 2023


Global Europe

During the special external Group meeting in Krakow today, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament adopted a proposal for an EU Charter of Women’s Rights – their flagship project ahead of the European elections in 2024. The objective is to have the Charter adopted by the whole EU to make sure its provisions are respected by all member states. This is why the S&Ds will push for this public debate ahead of the 2024 elections based on the Charter presented in Krakow.

The Charter is an expression of the S&D’s strong belief that more must be done to achieve full gender equality in the EU, as promised by the European Treaty*. According to the Gender Equality Index**, if we continue at the current rate we will only achieve gender equality within the EU in 60 years. Progress remains slow and insufficient. Meanwhile, in countries such as Poland, Hungary and Italy, we have witnessed a worrisome regression – the most tangible example of which is the de facto abortion ban in Poland.

The EU Charter of Women’s Rights enshrines the key fundamental rights of women and girls in the EU – including the right to decide about their bodies and lives, access to contraception, a ban on all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, socio-economic rights and economic independence.  Once adopted at EU level, the Charter will protect and promote women’s rights and freedoms, and ensure that these rights are carefully safeguarded, respected and reflected in all the legislative and non-legislative work of the Union.

S&D Leader, Iratxe García Pérez, said:

“I cannot think of a better a place than Poland to announce the EU Charter of Women’s Rights. We admire the courage of Polish women, who massively opposed the PiS government’s attacks on women and women’s rights. We are committed to defending their rights and their freedoms, because they are European citizens. We must also not forget about the economic aspect of the Polish abortion ban. Once again, it is the poorest women who are hardest hit, because they cannot afford to travel abroad to undergo legal and safe abortions.

“The setbacks in Poland, as well as backlashes against women’s rights worldwide, are often inspired by the far right and anti-gender and fundamentalist conservative movements. They are a reminder that women’s rights can never be taken for granted and must be fought for every day. We therefore need the EU Charter of Women’s Rights as a symbol of our commitment and as a clear benchmark of the common standards that we all swore to uphold.”

Robert Biedroń, S&D MEP, chair of the women’s rights committee (FEMM) and co-president of Nowa Lewica, added:

“It is appalling that in the 21st century, in the heart of Europe, women are dying because of fundamentalists and their barbaric laws. It is inexplicable that women are being deprived of their hard-won rights and that the EU fails to protect them. At a time when the anti-gender movement is usurping the right to make political decisions, only the Progressives can lead the fight for women’s rights and gender equality.

“We know this won’t be easy, but unlike the conservatives, we do not use excuses or pretend not to have adequate tools. We are determined to win this fight and shall not rest until this much-needed Charter is adopted, so all European women are properly protected and able to finally enjoy the same rights!”

Notes to editors:

*Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states: “In all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women.”

**The Gender Equality Index, 2022, released by the European Institute for Gender Equality.