Women’s rights are the main indicator of the state of development of a society.
Equal opportunities between women and men, their equal ability to deploy their talent in the labour market, their financial independence and full citizenship are not only essential for our economic well-being, but also for our personal happiness, collective well-being and for the preservation and promotion of our democratic model. Without equality there cannot be an appeased society, nor social progress. Equality is the backbone of our social development. Gender equality is the pillar of fundamental rights on which Europe was built. So stepping back on this issue means denying the founding values of Europe and is therefore the first step towards its destruction.
The advance of nationalism and populism increases the threat of regression. The EU institutions should define a binding legislative framework for all member countries, and provide the means to implement these policies thanks to specific financial means and a multi-annual budget. A first step would certainly be the equal composition of the Commission and Parliament and all top EU jobs, as promoted by the European Women’s Lobby with the 50:50 Petition Women For Europe, Europe for Women and by the WECAN letter written by the Women Enablers Change Agent Network.
Let’s try to share the power for the first time in the history of humanity, to change the way we exercise legislative and executive power! To date, voting for women and appointing as many women as men to positions of responsibility is much more revolutionary than voting for a party that claims to be “anti-system”. This is most likely our last chance to succeed, before we see a general setback of women’s rights.
European integration, ecology and equality between women and men are based on the same need for profound change in our civilisation: the transformation of a society based on multiple dominations (patriarchy) to a society based on collaboration. The basis of all dominations is the hierarchy of the sexes, i.e. that of male over female. But there are many other historical dominations: white people over black people, north over south, humans over other species and over the earth, …
The EU was born from the will to put an end to incessant wars between European countries, by linking them economically and culturally in a common destiny; this is to say, by replacing struggles for power by cooperation.
More than ever, it is essential for women to mobilise and engage in the European construction. Europe is our most powerful asset to avoid going backwards and allowing the rising traditionalists and nationalists to take power, with a return to religious, closed identities and archaic gender roles.
The whole history of humanity shows that every democratic advance (or attempt to advance) leads to populist movements returning to the “traditional values”, orchestrated by the ruling groups who are afraid of losing their power. All these movements have always been at the expense of women’s place in society.
Half of humanity must have the same rights and the same privileges as the other half, otherwise all the democratic foundations of our society will vanish.
Social Entrepreneur, founder of JUMP for gender equality at work.
In view of the up-coming European elections, Isabella published a book on Europe with 9 other Italian women from Brussels: “Europee, 10 donne raccontano l’Europa” (in Italian)