During a debate in the European Parliament last night on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015, GUE/NGL MEPs challenged the house asking “Why is the right of this Parliament so scared to discuss gender equality?”

Malin Bjork said: “Gender equality is essential for building the type of society we want to live in… Women don‛t want to live in a society of old men, we want progress.

“We must decide if we are in favour of women's rights of if we are to continue with the patriarchal model. The report we are looking at today does move forward, but it is not enough. We see a lot of male resistance to equality, even in this very room.”

Kostas Chrysogonos continued: “The utter failure of the previous strategy can be demonstrated in figures such as the fact that 60% of those without a job are women. It is austerity policies which are worsening the gaps between men and women.”

Josu Juaristi joined the debate adding: “In addition to targets, we must have funding and mainstream gender equality into EU policy; in this respect we have fallen short of the mark.”

For Tania González, “Initiatives like this are only useful if they fight the root causes of inequality” with Portuguese MEP Inês Zuber adding: “We must have a strategy we can put into practice, not just fine sounding words.”

Ángela Vallina echoed the words of her colleagues, stating that this strategy “must go beyond the previous failed strategy” and asked “Why is the right of this Parliament so scared of discussing gender equality?”

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