Prominent female MEPs have throughout this week been stepping up their efforts to encourage gender equality in the positions of great responsibility in the EU in a series of high-profile media events.
On Monday (16th) Vice-President Diana Wallis
along with Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes and Commission Vice-President Margot Wallstrom, wrote in a letter to the Financial Times
that “it is time to move from words to deeds by appointing women to leading positions in the EU".
The following day Mrs Wallis (ALDE, UK) was joined by fellow cross-party group members Rebecca Harms
(Greens/EFA, DE), Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou
(EPP, EL), Marije Cornelissen
(Greens/EFA, NL), Britta Thomsen
(S&D, DK), Ilda Figueiredo
(GUE/NGL, PT) and Raül Romeva I Rueda
(Greens/EFA, ES - male but member of the committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality) at a press conference in the Anna Politkovskaya Room, where they also demanded fairer representation.
Mrs Harms said that the representation of women in Europe should not be similar to that of Saudi Arabia while Mrs Wallis expressed her displeasure that women have been “excluded from the selection process although they represent 52% of the [European] population”.
The group then issued a threat to vote against the proposed new Commission they are not satisfied with the number of females nominated for the posts, before stating their intention to assemble outside the 'Justus Lipsius' building the following lunchtime to protest their belief that "you need to be a man to get a top job in the EU".
And then earlier this afternoon, a number of MEPs gathered at 13.15 in front of the 'Justus Lipsius' Council of Ministers building in Brussels, to demand more women be appointed to the jobs of greater responsibility in the EU.
All were wearing shirts and ties (see above), they waved their CVs in the air stating that they are as competent as men for the jobs. Notably, they want the future Barroso II Commission
to include as many women as the last (five nominated at present, seven or eight probable, for a total of 27 Commissioners) and that a woman is appointed either as the President of the European Council or as Minister of Foreign Affairs."
Let us also not forget the words of President Jerzy Buzek, who addressing the 27 Member States at the end of October about the nomination of the President of the European Council, when he said: "Take a look around, how many women are present? Should we not appoint a woman to this post? There are a number of suitable women candidates and I urge the Council to seriously consider this." (Read earlier blog entry
Women currently represent approximately 35% of MEPs and currently occupy eight of the 27 Commissioner posts.