GUE/NGL Coordinator on the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee, Malin Björk, comments: “Women’s rights are constantly being attacked. We see it in Poland’s anti-abortion laws and we see it in the Trump Republican administration’s global 'gag rule' which blocks funding to international organisations that provide or give advice on abortion services.

“I hope the events this week will show that resistance is not only necessary, but also leads to change. For example, when it comes to prostitution, country after country is now adopting the Nordic Model which criminalises the buyers and not the women in prostitution.”

Vice Chair of the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee, João Pimenta Lopes, adds: “Inequality between men and women, as well as class inequality, have deepened with the macroeconomic, sectorial and austerity policies of the EU. These policies have strongly attacked labour rights, social protection and public services, and led to the impoverishment of people and the working class in the member states.”

“Tackling and reversing inequalities can only be achieved with the emancipatory strength of women and the working class, by creating a rupture with these policies and moving towards progressive policies that put the needs and ambitions of the people at their core.”


GUE/NGL is holding the Feminist Forum; four days of events for International Women's Day in the European Parliament, on topics including:

  • austerity measures and equality in the workplace;
  • sexual and reproductive rights;
  • violence against women, prostitution and human trafficking;
  • the situation of women in armed conflict and peace processes;
  • the role of women in revolutionary processes.


A press conference on the Nordic Model for prostitution, which criminalises the buyers rather than the women, will be held on Wednesday March 8 at 11.00am in the European Parliament's Anna Politkovskaya Room, PHS 0A50.


  • Men's salaries are 16 per cent higher than women's;
  • Men's pensions are 40 per cent higher than women's;
  • Women do 26 hours of unpaid work per week, while men do only nine hours;
  • 27 per cent of Europeans believe that sex without consent is sometimes acceptable;
  • 76 per cent of the victims of human trafficking in the EU are women and girls;
  • Only 37 per cent of MEPs in the European Parliament are women;
  • Abortion remains illegal or heavily restricted in 3 EU member states.

(Sources: Eurostat data and official EU studies from the past four years)

International Women's Day is held on March 8 every year to raise awareness of the inequality and achievements of women around the world.


GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Nikki Sullings  +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75

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