European Women's Lobby

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is an NGO founded in 1990 and the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union (EU), working to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men. As of November 2009, EWL membership extends to organisations in all 27 EU member states and the three candidate countries, as well as to 21 European-wide bodies, representing a total of more than 2500 organisations.

With a Secretariat based in Brussels, Belgium, the EWL is one of the longest-standing European level NGOs, and works closely with European Institutions and civil society partners. At the international level, the EWL has consultative status at the Council of Europe and the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and participates regularly in the activities of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

The EWL's mission is to work towards the promotion and respect for women’s human rights, by supporting diversity among women and equality between women and men. The EWL seeks to voice the concerns of its member organisations across Europe by means of active policy and advocacy work, project-management, monitoring and awareness-raising across different policy areas. These include women’s economic and social position, women in decision-making, sexual and reproductive health and rights, immigration, integration and asylum. The EWL, through its European Policy Action Centre on Violence Against Women (EPAC-VAW), also works to combat all forms of violence against women. The EWL's EPAC-VAW also manages a dedicated European Observatory on this issue. Furthermore, the EWL supports the use of gender mainstreaming for the effective incorporation of a women's rights perspective into all European policies.


In November 1987 in London 120 women, members of 85 organisations representing 50 millions individual members, came together and adopted two resolutions. The first called for the ‘creation of a structure for influence, open to all interested women’s organisations, to exert pressure on European and national institutions to ensure better defence and representation of women’s interest’. In a second resolution, the delegates called upon the European Commission to ‘lend its support for the organisation in early 1988 of a meeting with a view to the implementation of such a structure’. Support was granted and the European Women’s Lobby and its secretariat in Brussels were formally established in 1990. The EWL was founded in 1990 by Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom national coordinations and 17 large European-wide women’s organisations.

At the time just twelve countries formed the European Union, then known as the European Communities (EC). Over the years, as new Member States joined the EC, new national co-ordinations became members of the EWL. While the EU enlarged to countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the EWL established links and cooperation with women’s organisations in these countries.

The EWL currently has national co-ordinations in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia,Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom. 21 European-wide member organisations are also members of the EWL. All these represent approximately 2500 direct member organisations.

The European Women’s Lobby was created in response to a growing awareness of the need to defend women’s interests at the European level since:


The European Women’s Lobby, through its member organisations, aims:

Policy areas


  1. European Commission Roadmap for equality between women and men 2006-2010 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2008.
  2. United Nation Beijing Platform for Action on Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

External links

European Institutions

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