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José Manuel Durão Barroso
Président de la Commission européenne
Statement by President Barroso on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the International Women's Day
Joint press conference with the European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, the Chair of the EP Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee Eva-Britt Svensson, and the Vice-President of the European Commission Viviane Reding
Strasbourg, 8 March 2011
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
Today, at the first centenary of women's day, we pay tribute to one century of struggles and of successes. And I am proud to say that European women were always at the forefront of this fight, namely in terms of political rights. And we should ask ourselves what would be our societies, our economies, and our politics today, without the full participation and contribution of women?
Today, the principle of gender equality is firmly anchored in the European Union and is reflected in an important body of legislation and non-legislative initiatives.
However, the international women's day does not only mark the achievements of tireless struggles and manifold successes. It is also a wake-up call for all those who think that gender equality sounds good on paper, but does not really need to be followed through in practice:
There are many more examples showing us that much more still needs to be done to really have a reason to celebrate women's day.
The Commission is and remains at the forefront of those pushing gender equality – inside the Commission, inside the European Union and in our relations with third countries.
Let me just briefly illustrate this through a few examples:
Let me conclude by thanking Vice President Reding for her commitment and enthusiasm to make equality between men and women a reality. Her determination is a good signal of the Commission's clarity for this very important agenda.