15 Jul, 2020

The EWA Class of 2020 has arrived!

Following a record number of applications, we are thrilled to announce the new European Women’s Academy (EWA) class of 2020. The EWA aims to promote gender equality in politics and decision-making across Europe by empowering women that want to be active in liberal politics. EWA is the leading network of its kind in Europe, and is a partnership between the ALDE party, The European Liberal Forum (ELF) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF).  

This year eighteen participants will enter the programme. Coming from fourteen countries, the participants cover a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives. Over the course of three four-day sessions throughout 2020 and 2021, they will connect with experts, mentors and like-minded women in liberal politics to explore common challenges and solutions in their journeys to achieve success in political life.

EWA Class of 2020 participants include:

Dace Bargā - Latvijas attīstībai, Latvia
Judith Behmer, FDP, Germany
Julie Cantalou, Green Liberal Party, Switzerland
Ieva Feldmane-WalmsleyKustība Par!, Latvia
Eva-Lena Gästrin, SFP, Finland
Maria-Luz Guilarte Sánchez, Ciudadanos, Spain
Anna Gunstad Bäckman, Center Party, Sweden
Linda Johnson, Liberal Democrats, the United Kingdom
Anita Pannebakker, D66, The Netherlands
Romina Pourmokhtari, Liberal Party, Sweden
Mette-Annelie Rasmussen, Radikale Venstre, Denmark
Franziska Schumi, NEOS, Austria
Frida Sigfrids, SFP, Finland
Fana Vahideh, Center Party, Finland
Hester Veltman-Kamp, VVD, The Netherlands
Vajda Viktoria, Momentum Mozgalom, Hungary
Karolina Zdrodowska, Nowoczesna, Poland
Sarah Zickler, FDP, Germany

2020 is yet another milestone year in the struggle to realise gender equality in politics and decision-making. Crises across Europe and around the world have led to debates about what constitutes effective leadership, while elsewhere demands for more diversity in positions of power frequently make headlines. However, despite European and international targets, female participation in political life remains extremely low. We believe a fair, free and open society, as well as prosperous, sustainable Europe requires men and women to be equal in power, leadership and decision-making. This is why this year’s EWA programme is more vital than ever.

Recent EWA alumna Erin McGreehan proved this in June by being nominated to the Irish Senate (Seanad Eireann) – only the third woman from her county, and the first from her party in 100 years. Reflecting on the role EWA played in supporting her political journey, she notes: The EWA programme is fantastic for so many reasons. I feel the EWA helped me catch up with myself.  So much happened to me last year and what I learnt over the three weekends was priceless. It gave me time to reflect, improve in so many ways, personally and professionally.

Anna Gunstad Bäckman from Sweden’s Centerpartiet, a successful candidate for the EWA class of 2020, is looking forward to following in Erin’s footsteps: “I am incredibly happy and honored to be able to participate in the EWA Class of 2020. My expectations are high and I hope to get new tools to deal with the setbacks and successes in my political efforts at local, national and European levels. I’m looking forward to listening to other women in politics, hearing about their experiences, and also to getting inspired and expanding my knowledge of the realities of European political life in terms of current norms and prejudices. And of course, I look forward to participating in a European women's network that can further develop my political aspirations.”

The EWA is also using 2020 as a year for mobilising its community of alumnae and allies, and expanding its engagement in influencing activities aimed at advancing gender equality across Europe. For more information, please contact Adam Vink (EWA Project Manager) [email protected]

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