10 Jun, 2020

EWA teams up with liberal allies to discuss women, power and pandemic

On Thursday 4 June, the ALDE Party co-hosted an online event entitled ‘Women, Power and the Pandemic: A Liberal Roundtable’, convened in partnership with Liberal International, the Africa Liberal Network, ILFRY and Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats. The event featured European Women’s Academy (EWA) Alumna Cllr Emma Murphy of Fianna Fail (Ireland) as a panellist.  

“As a member of the newly formed European Women’s Academy Advisory Committee Board, I was delighted to be invited to take part in the Liberal International online event - Women, Power & the Pandemic: A Liberal Roundtable. The event provided an opportunity for me to represent ALDE and to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on women globally,” Murphy commented.

The discussion explored two key questions that have emerged since the COVID-19 pandemic began to devastate lives and societies at the beginning of 2020: has the crisis become yet another barrier disproportionately impacting women in politics, and has female political leadership (however defined) actually proven to be more effective in times like these? 

The event took a particular look at how different liberal networks around the world have been supporting women in politics before and during the crisis. EWA was seen as a model approach among several other programmes, policy tools and public engagement strategies to address gender disparities in politics. 

On this topic, Emma Murphy noted, “Female leadership successes and challenges have been at the forefront of the media interventions during the pandemic and this forum provided the opportunity to delve into other aspects of political social and domestic life for women.”

“It provided me with the opportunity to discuss how women are further building their resilience during the pandemic domestically and politically and the challenges faced with fulfilling electoral promises and advocating for constituents in these difficult times.”

With a great number of views, reactions and comments on online platforms, it is clear that the topic of this roundtable is an important theme that resonates with many people from all around the world.

Many at the event saw the current crisis as an opportunity to demand more female voices at the political decision-making table. Given the diverse backgrounds of the participants there were no shortage of solutions, including scaling programmes like the EWA, supporting more mentoring and networking opportunities for women in politics, and tackling issues like violence and harassment aimed at female leaders. 

All agreed on the importance of nurturing young female leaders and tackling the harmful gender norms that take hold from a very early age, and far too often extinguish the leadership aspirations of many young women and girls. Seeing more women succeed in power and politics ─ both at this particular moment of global crisis and going forward ─ will send a vital message to young women and girls that they have every right to lead, and that their voices and ideas are badly needed in politics both now and in the future. 

You can watch a recording of the event here

The European Women’s Academy (EWA) is a programme launched in 2016 in cooperation with the European Liberal Foundation (ELF) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF).

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