Socialist & Democrats group, second strongest political group of the European Parliament, organized Youth for Gender Equality Forum at the beginning of March. During three days in Bruxelles 25 participants from different European and African countries discussed about various problems regarding equality that women are facing in societies all over the world.
“That role we have as men in supporting and demanding equality and demanding a shift is really, really important. We shouldn't be afraid of the word feminist, men and women should use it to describe themselves anytime they want“. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this words a few months ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos and they have been stuck in my head ever since. When I found out I'll be a part of the Youth for Gender Equality Forum, I couldn't have imagine what a strong influence that three days will leave on me.
First of all, I got a unique opportunity to meet students and young professionals from different backgrounds to exchange ideas about gender equality and the ways we can promote it and improve it. Because that is one of the main issues of the modern world and my generation will be fundamental for its change.
During the Forum, one of the topics was economic inequality which is one of the key areas where women are in a disadvantaged postition, but also influences other areas like education or healthcare. Nowadays in Europe only 2% of women are CEO's, women earn 16% less than men on average and there is a 40% gap between their pensions. All this data shows how serious the situation is, even in the democratic European society.
The topic I chose for my workshop was “Women rights in refugee crisis“ and it was truly an honour to be at a meeting of the SubCommittee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality on Women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU which was led by Martin Schulz, president of the EP. “Refugees are often portrayed as being a threat to our society. Modest people fleeing from war, leaving everything they have behind, to have a safer place. The refugees' crisis is about people, people that need our help. Increasing share of those people are woman and children“, pointed Schulz.
Even though the Forum lasted for only three days, it was an important event to connect young advocates for Gender Equality because any future change has to start now. Implementing changes into society is one of the hardest jobs in the history of humanity. But to make a serious change, it is essential to educate people about issues we're facing and what should be at the end of the road. Gender equality it's not only a popular phrase. It's a challenge for all of us. For young people all over the globe. If we can accomplish it in the future, we will be able to say that we left a significant mark for future generations. But it's crucial always to have in mind words by Javi Moreno Sanchez (S&D Group) he told us during the last meeting at the Youth for Gender Equality Forum: "We can only succeed in gender equality if men are committed".