This was the call of Monica Carlsson, President of the AER Observatory on Gender Issues and County Commissioner in Norrbotten (S), during the Observatory’s meeting in Brussels on May 28, 2009. Indeed, citizens across Europe are about to elect their new Parliament and, over the next five years, our lives will be shaped by these representatives. While election day approaches, AER wishes to remind voters, both women and men, that they are the ones who can make sure that women and men are equally represented among them.
“A representative democracy without gender equality is a contradiction in terms”, said Monica Carlsson, who strongly supports the“50/50 Campaign for Democracy” launched by the European Women’s Lobby. “AER”, she added, “recently elected a woman, Mrs. Michèle Sabban, Vice-President of Ile-de-France, as its new president. It now calls upon voters to remember that women make up half the electorate and should quite logically make up half the politicians and policy-makers.”
“Both women AND men have a role to play – AER considers that gender equality is not an issue that opposes the sexes, but rather one that calls for a partnership leading towards mutual enrichment in all possible respects. On June 7, citizens across Europe will be offered a great opportunity to change the current male-dominated “family picture” of our European Parliament”, added Mrs. Carlsson.
While in Brussels, the AER Observatory on Gender Issues organizsed an introductory seminar to its Conference on Violence against Women to be held in Karlstad, Värmland (S) on October 15-16, 2009. This has been successfully achieved thanks to a collaboration with the Belgian Institute for Equality Between Women and Men and the European Women’s Lobby.
“Violence against women is an issue that cannot wait. At least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime”, said Mrs. Carlsson. “We encouraged women across the whole of Europe to speak out against domestic violence as well as sexual and moral harassment when and wherever it occurs.”
The AER Observatory on Gender Issues praised all the women who, like Ukraine’s Svetlana Loboda, are determined to reduce violence against women. “Regions want to help women who had become apologists for their husbands’ or violent partners’ behaviour to gain the strength to speak out. That’s why AER is more committed than ever to this fight and will focus on violence against women both in 2009 and beyond”, concluded Mrs. Carlsson.
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