EU Commision Vice-President Margot Wallstrom to address National Women's Council Event
14 Nov 2008
Commissioner Margot Wallström, the Vice-President of the European Commission, will address a public meeting this afternoon (Friday 14th November 2008) hosted by the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) and the European Commission Representation in Ireland.
Commissioner Wallström's address: 'No Democracy without Equality' will focus on the issue of women's participation in decision-making structures across Europe.
Commissioner Wallström will address a broad spectrum of Irish women at the event and will advocate the necessity for parity of esteem for women's access to the political process across Europe.
Speaking ahead of the event, Maura Butler, Chairperson of the NWCI, stated: 'The National Women's Council of Ireland is delighted to join with the European Commission Representation in Ireland to host this important event. The issue of the equal representation of women and men in the European Parliament is one that the NWCI is committed to achieving. The NWCI has long campaigned for a more balanced representation of women and men in national and European decision-making structures. Indeed, the NWCI is a member of the European Women's Lobby (EWL) whose '50/50 Campaign' is strongly endorsed and supported by Commissioner Wallström.'
Commissioner Wallström is expected to discuss the '50/50 Campaign' during her address this afternoon. The campaign, led by the EWL, seeks to ensure the equal representation of women and men in the European Parliament to be elected in June 2009. The campaign highlights how the under-representation of women in EU institutions is a serious obstacle to the democratic legitimacy of the EU. This undermines all attempts to promote a more inclusive and participatory democracy.
Putting it into a national context, Ms Butler explained: 'The same concerns that the 50/50 campaign highlights for European democracy, could also be applied to an Irish context. In Ireland only 13% of TDs and 19% of local councillors are women. If women, who constitute over half of the population of Ireland are represented by only 13% of sitting TDs or if they rely for their representation on men, then the capacity of the existing political system to represent women adequately is seriously diminished. This is of serious concern to the NWCI in the lead-up to the Local and European Elections in 2009.'
‘If political parties do not actively recruit women and if women are not supported to participate in politics, then the interests of women will not be represented properly in this country,' she continued.
Over the coming months, in the lead up to the Local and European Elections in 2009, the NWCI will highlight the importance of the equal representation of women and men in positions of decision-making and will call on all political parties to actively recruit female candidates. 'It is important that women's voices, issues and concerns are raised and are on the political agenda.
This can only come about with an equal representation of men and women in government. Ireland will be a far better place when more women are in positions of decision-making. 'Ms Butler concluded.