Véronique Morali – EurActiv – Monday, 03 February 2014 (originally published 27 Jan)
Tomorrow, the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society will convene a special meeting at the European Parliament to discuss how to re-create trust in Europe. Europe today is in crisis; we all know this. That crisis goes far beyond the very significant financial difficulties that our banking systems have been facing since 2007. It involves the need to recreate a sense of community and empowerment for collective action on a range of important social issues. This is a crisis of trust — a failure of public confidence in Europe’s own institutions and leadership.
But if citizens feel increasingly distant from their political leadership is that so very surprising, when the institutions and leadership of Europe so visibly fail to reflect the communities they are intended to serve?
One third of the members of the European Parliament are women. Look harder, and in four countries – Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg — women make up less than one-quarter of MEPs. In national parliaments, exactly half the 28 country parliaments of the Union are made up of fewer than one-quarter women. The European Commission, meanwhile, has never been led by a woman. Currently just 9 out of the 28 European Commissioners are women — again, barely one-third . . .