“Women Factor” Moves Forward in the EU

Source: Eurostep

Eurostep’s director, Simon Stocker, said his organisation “hopes” that the inclusion of the “women factor” in all of the European Union’s programmes and projects “will be fully reflected in the European Commission’s proposals to modernize EU development policy”. Stocker made this statement after a meeting between EU officials and the executive director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet.

In a series of meetings held between EU officials and the executive director of the recently established UN Women’s Body, Michelle Bachelet, European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs stressed the importance of further strengthening women’s empowerment and gender equality on the ground.

To this end, he was planning to include the “women factor” in all of the EU’s development programmes and projects, Piebalgs announced.

“Without women's empowerment, there will be no development and exit from poverty. Women are the agents of change. This is why I will make women's empowerment one of the priorities of the Development policy”, the EU’s development commissioner noted in a joint press conference with Michelle Bachelet.

“Any project we conduct be it in agriculture, education or health should make sure it reaches women and empower them to further actions”, Piebalgs continued.

In order to further strengthen the role of women in the EU’s development policy approach, the respective policies should be implemented through the EU Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development, adopted in 2010, he noted.

The joint action plan of the Council and Commission calls for a three-fold approach, combining political and policy dialogue, gender mainstreaming and targeted actions.

Piebalgs also stressed the need to step up the EU’s financial support to the UN Women body. “I am convinced that if we combine EU resources and presence in the world with UN Women expertise and networks, we have a good chance to make a difference and to reach the Millennium Development Goals related to women — notably Maternal Health and Child mortality”, he concluded.

In a reaction to Andris Piebalgs’ announcement, Eurostep’s Director Simon Stocker stated: “Eurostep hopes these ideas and intentions will be fully reflected in the Commission’s proposals to modernize EU development policy. The question of gender inequality, and the crucial role of women in development were not particularly prominent in the green paper on “EU development policy in support of inclusive growth and sustainable development — Increasing the impact of EU development policy” published by the Commission last year”.

More information:
Andris Piebalgs’ statement: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/11/217&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
Adris Piebalgs’ blog: http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/piebalgs/the-silent-revolution/
Michelle Bachelet statements: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/en/headlines/content/20110324STO16433/html/Bachelet-democracy-is-not-only-voting-it-is-inclusion-pluralism-diversity