The Socialist Women Working Group (SWWG) has been a strong defender of gender equality in all the reports and discussions presented in the Parliamentary Assembly since its creation back in the nineties. It inspired the creation of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination within the Parliamentary Assembly. The SWWG brings together all women members affiliated to the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group (SOC Group) and holds its meetings every Monday morning of each part session of the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, from 8.30 am to 9.30 am, in Room 11 (2nd Floor) of the Council of Europe. Interpretation in English and French is provided. The Convocations to the meetings are sent out to all members by the Secretariat of the SOC Group couple of weeks before each meeting.

« The work of the Socialist Women’s Working Group is incredibly important. It alerts members of SOC to issues that need attention, especially in relation to votes in the plenary sessions and in the committees. It also works to inform and develop a better understanding of equalities issues at international level, for example in relation to the ongoing conservative campaign against women’s sexual and reproductive rights. I hope women members of SOC will join with us in the work of ensuring that the voices of women are clearly heard in the Council of Europe. »

Angela Smith, Chair of the SWWG since 2018

If you are a woman, and you are part of the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group, we would like to welcome you as one of the members of the Socialist Women Working Group (SWWG). As many women across the European continent are struggling to defend their rights to safe and legal abortion care, gender equality, equal pay, etc. we are convinced we have to join forces more than ever.

The aim of the SWWG is to discuss the agenda of the parliamentary session and identify gender related topics and debates. By preparing a gender screening of the agenda on the forehand, we can address important women issues together, and amend hostile proposals if necessary. Besides, we often invite interesting speakers to our meeting to inform us about the human rights’ situation of women in the Member States of the Council of Europe. Amongst others, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, and Neil Data from the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development have been invited to keep us updated. When it is possible, we try to intervene in Member States like Poland e.g. when sexual and reproductive rights and health of women and girls are in danger.

We also intend to keep in touch with progressive women in the European Parliament through PES Women. Therefore, Zita Gurmai, President of PES Women, has joined our meeting several times already.

« Women can play a crucial role in their political group. By organising ourselves, and identifying gender sensitive and gender related issues on the forehand, we can make a difference. Especially for those women across Council of Europe Member States who are struggling for their sexual and reproductive rights. They count on us. »

Petra De Sutter, former Chair of the SWWG from 2015 until 2018