The UK Joint Committee on Women (UKJCW) comprises of four umbrella organisations in the UK, one from each of the four nations, which co-ordinate a UK view to the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), the largest network of women’s organisations in Europe.
These sister organisations include: the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO); Engender, the network of women’s organisations in Scotland; the Women’s Equality Network Wales (WEN) and Northern Ireland’s Women’s European Platform (NIWEP).
The UKJCW functions as a mechanism to share the UK seat at the EWL, to ensure that each of the four nations is represented at a European level. Each year, a different organisation within the UKJCW provides a representative to the EWL to communicate the UKJCW position.
Each UKJCW member consists of organisations and individuals working in the women’s sector, and thus the UKJCW enables a myriad of women and groups to engage with EWL actions and have access to information. The UKJCW provides a forum for discussion and co-ordination among women’s organisations and ensures that each nation is engaged with EWL on national and international policy regarding women’s rights and gender equality.
More generally, the UKJCW seeks the elimination of discrimination against women, the advancement of equal rights for women and securing equal opportunities for women.
EWL is comprised of 2500 organisations which span over 31 countries in the European Union. Founded in 1990 with support from the European Commission, EWL formed in response to a growing necessity to defend and advocate for women’s interests at the European level. EWL works from a feminist perspective towards securing equal rights, peace and solidarity in Europe and globally, and seeks specifically to promote the participation of women’s organisations at the European level.
EWL mandate is to secure economic and social justice for women in their diversity, inclusive of an equal distribution of care giving roles and decision making power. EWL provides necessary information to mobilize members and facilitates communication and exchanges between citizens and decision makers, as well as between women’s organisations themselves. These networks help to mainstream gender equality, and seek to ensure that women are represented and able to influence policy development.
A key priority for EWL is the elimination of all forms of violence against women, and the Observatory of Violence Against Women is run by EWL, drawing expertise from across Europe, in order to identify critical and emerging issues to advocate for in policy development and service provision. The Observatory produces new reports and data, and strives to create awareness raising campaigns about various forms of male violence against women.
The UKJCW engage with EWL on numerous key gender equality campaigns and policy. In the past, important EWL campaigns have included:
Beijing+20 From Words to Action
The Beijing+20 report ‘From words to action’, produced by EWL, calls for urgent, co-ordinated action across the EU on gender equality strategies. The report assesses the effectiveness of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, 20 years on since its adoption and outlines necessary strategies from a European perspective to ensure that women’s rights remain a priority in the post-2015 political agenda.
WESTART: Mapping Women’s Social Entrepreneurship in Europe
The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of women’s social entrepreneurship in 10 countries in Europe and forms part of a larger campaign to advocate for future policy change that supports women’s growing leadership and innovation in this sector. The WESTART campaign will provide opportunities for women to create international partnerships, receive mentoring, share information and skills and identify opportunities to provide employment options to women across Europe.
The group includes: France and Germany; Bulgaria and Hungary; Italy and Spain; Sweden and Lithuania; Ireland and the United Kingdom thus far, and in the future there are plans to extend research to other European member states.
Please see the European Women’s Lobby Website Here.
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