16 Dec, 2020

European Women's Academy alumnae meet for virtual event

Mircea Serdin

So much to celebrate, and even more to look forward to. This was the theme of a very special event held on 8 December, which for the first time since the programme began in 2016, brought together European Women’s Academy (EWA) alumnae, supporters and organisers.

Despite progress in recent decades, there is a long way to go to end gender inequality in politics. Women remain significantly less represented at all levels of politics, while women who succeed in gaining political office face more scrutiny and discrimination than their peers, undermining their mandates and making it more difficult for them to continue succeeding as leaders and decision makers.  

As a result, gender parity in national parliaments has still not been achieved by any of the EU member states. Only three heads of state and government represented in the European Council are women. Globally, less than 25 per cent of parliamentarians are female, with 4 out of 5 experiencing psychological violence while in their role, and 1 in 5 experiencing physical violence while in the parliament.

It has been the mission of EWA to promote female representation in politics by connecting liberal women and empowering them to pursue and achieve their political goals. Over 100 alumnae have completed the programme thus far,  with many going on to gain prominent positions in politics across Europe. The virtual alumnae event provided a moment to reflect on the personal stories of alumnae and share experiences that have helped women to succeed since taking part in the EWA programme.

Speaking during the event was Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, the first woman elected to this office as well as the youngest ever President of Estonia. Participants also heard from two members of the EWA Alumnae Advisory Board, a group of alumnae set up to support the development of a bold new strategic plan for the programme and its future direction. Joyce Onstad of the Liberal Democrats (UK) and Madelaine Jakobssson of Centerpartiet (Sweden) joined EWA project manager Adam Vink to give a sneak peak of the plan for taking EWA to the next level in 2021, including a powerful new brand that captures an ambition to be more expansive, more visible and more impactful.

Also announced were plans to convene the alumnae together with allies, partners and supporters in person during the first-ever EWA Summit, to be held (COVID-19 situation permitting) in the margins of the ALDE Party Congress in 2021. Updates on this and other key developments related to the EWA programme can be expected early in the new year. 

For more information on the European Women’s Academy, contact Adam Vink: [email protected].

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