"The day that we no longer celebrate Women's Day, we will have achieved perfect equality."
Ex-Commissioner Viviane Reding once remarked.
We are still far from that day !
In a more nuanced way, Simone de Beauvoir advised:
"Never forget that it only needs a political, economic or religious crisis to cast doubt on women's rights. These will never be acquired rights. You will have to stay vigilant your whole life."
This year, International Women's Day has a special character with an unprecedented worldwide movement in favour of women's rights to equality and justice. Discrimination, harassment and violence against women have made front page news and have given rise to such a wide public debate that changes now seem within grasp.
It was in 2013 that FFPE, in the context of the most recent Reform of the Staff Regulations, launched a petition to "defend the position of women in the Commission".
FFPE called for more posts for women in middle and higher management, a greater flexibility in work patterns and denounced proposals aimed at no longer recruiting secretaries as officials.
This petition was signed by more than a thousand colleagues and was handed to Commissioner Sefcovic…
Where are we five years later?
The survey carried out by FFPE for last year's International Women's Day shows that the results are mixed:
Secretaries are still recruited as officials but at a new low grade AST/SC;
The teleworking and part-time working rules have developed but remain just as inaccessible to many women;
Working life has become more stressful for all colleagues but particularly for women since the imposition of the 40-hour working week and their quality of life has suffered badly;
A 40% objective for women in middle and higher management was set and is on the point of being attained.
The Commission should lead by example and implement actions clearly dedicated to achieving equal opportunities for men and women without diluting this issue as it currently does.
Beyond our environment in the Commission and Institutions, International Women's Day 2018 is the occasion to maintain dynamism and engage in concrete actions in favour of women's autonomy in a range of contexts, both rural and urban, - and help them to realise their potential.
On the occasion of the 2018 edition, FFPE proposes to you the opportunity to support a concrete project for the benefit of women in Benin.
This project is carried out with the participation of Mme Elisabeth Feret, ex-Commission official and previously head of the delegation in Benin. This project will be explained in detail shortly..
You will never walk alone!