Stop this backlash on Womens Rights and LGBTI rights

20 juni 2023

Feminist campaigners from Europe’s socialist and social democratic political family gathered in Portugal on Friday to celebrate 30 years of PES Women – the organisation of the Party of European Socialists (PES) which promotes gender equality and women’s representation, both inside and outside the party.

The conference was organised in cooperation with PS Mulheres Socialistas, the women’s organisation of Partido Socialista in Portugal. Ahead of the European elections next year, the conference focused on the political fight against the populist threat to women’s rights.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said: “We can be proud of how far we have come. For over a decade we fought for the Istanbul Convention. Today, EU accession has been achieved. For over a decade we fought for the Directive on gender balance in corporate boards. Today it is a reality too. We fought to put gender at the top of the policy agenda. But the fight is not over. It is never over. We see the challenges ahead, that our hard-won progress is under threat. We will never let populists and conservative roll-back our rights. Today we celebrate our achievements. Tomorrow, we continue the fight, as we always have done, as we always will.”

A diverse range of high-level speakers were present at the Partido Socialista Headquarters in Lisbon for the PES Women conference. The first panel focused on rising populism in Europe and the risk of a backlash on women’s rights. Maria Manuel Leitão Marques Member of European Parliament, PS Portugal provided the keynote speech, which was followed by interventions from Vera Tax Member of European Parliament PvdA Netherlands and Jorge Lacão former Secretary of State for Gender Equality, PS Portugal, and Diana Pinto, Project Officer at the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights.

Vera Tax, PvdA Netherlands: “Polarisation, we know it is the business-model for klick-bate advertisement. But did you know that it is also the klick-bate model for right-wing politicians? Polarisation is the disruptive force in our societies, and it is  like a toxic breeze of carbon monoxide; at first you don’t see it, than it gives you a headache and than democracy just died a little bit more. Right wing politicians proclaime they are defenders of women’s rights in public but at the same time they vote against legislation like women on boards, or equal pay. We have to keep fighting in the EU to stop this backlash on Womens Rights and LHBTIQ rights.”

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