The European Women’s Academy (EWA) Class of 2019 held its final session from 23 to 26 January near the city of Namur in Belgium. This session marked a key milestone for the programme, with the 17 up-and-coming female political candidates graduating and joining a group of EWA alumnae which now counts over 100.
The final session for the 2019 programme – held in 2020 due to the European elections in May 2019 – had an overarching theme of resilience which reflected a growing interest on the part of participants to develop strategies that help deal with an increasingly hostile environment for women with political ambition. As well as engaging in sessions on key skills such as fundraising, effective public speaking, managing social media and electoral data, the participants had the opportunity to interact with several inspiring speakers, including past alumnae and European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager.
For Erin McGreehan, a participant from Fianna Fail in Ireland, the programme empowers women to become better at politics and to deliver change. Her advice to women thinking about running is to have courage – “the courage to stand up, believe what you’re saying is important, that your opinion counts and can change things”. Susanne Caarls from D66 in the Netherlands agreed: “We need more women in politics and the EWA really helps prepare women to get into politics... if there still is this little doubt whether I can do it, am I good enough for it – the EWA will get you across the line and will support you in really getting you there.”
This session also provided an opportunity to reflect on the future of the programme and explore ways to build on successes to date to become even more ambitious in how we support liberal female political candidates across Europe. Given the current political climate, our commitment to getting more women elected and to helping liberal political parties achieve this goal is more vital than ever.
Launched in 2016 by the ALDE Party and supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the European Liberal Forum, the European Women’s Academy is a state-of-the-art training programme for female politicians aimed at inspiring and enriching them with the knowledge and tools to win their upcoming elections and to become more influential in politics.
A call for applications for the EWA Class of 2020 will be launched in early February. With plans underway to take EWA to the next level, it looks set to be an exciting year for new participants as well as alumnae and allies of the programme. For more questions, please get in touch with Adam Vink, EWA Project Manager ([email protected]).
You can be part of the solution! Every year it costs €3.000 to put each candidate through the European Women’s Academy - and we don't want to stop! Your contribution, no matter how big or small, is an investment in Europe’s next generation of female leaders.