At an inter-parliamentary meeting marking International Women’s Day (8 March), many MEPs and national MPs expressed their solidarity with the Ukrainian women and people.
In her opening speech, EP President Roberta Metsola said: ‘‘I want to start by commending the incredibly brave women of Ukraine who are fighting, forced to shelter their loved ones in bunkers, giving birth in metro stations and leading on the frontline. It is a testament to their courage, strength and resilience even in the worst circumstances.’’
Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee Chair Robert Biedroń (S&D, PL), declared: ‘‘A few days ago, in the very heart of Europe, Russia launched a brutal war on Ukraine, entirely in breach of international agreements, human rights and our values. I condemn this aggression that has led to the senseless deaths of many Ukrainian soldiers (20% of whom are women) and civilians. Over a million refugees have crossed the border now, mostly women (some of them pregnant) and children. We need to ensure proper assistance is provided to them.’’
French Minister Delegate for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities Élisabeth Moreno, added: ‘‘I salute the courage and determination of the Ukrainian people, of these women and men who are facing a wave of unanimously condemned violence. Let us remember that women and girls are always the first victims of crises. Despite this, they are excluded from strategic discussions and exchanges on security and peace.’’
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Chair of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee for Ukraine’s integration into the EU, made the following statement: ‘‘I would have loved to join you today to discuss gender equality but I will talk about war. Thousands of women with children are trying to relocate to a safer place. Some have difficulties accessing basic products like baby food, while others are giving birth in shelters. Elderly people are sometimes left alone at home with no access to medicine or food. I urge your governments to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine, to provide massive military support and to engage right now in providing humanitarian corridors for women, children and elderly people. Please do stand with Ukraine and help us preserve ourselves and the values we are standing for.’’
This morning, in light of current events, the agenda of this Women’s Rights inter-parliamentary committee meeting, previously focused on the future of Europe’s women after the pandemic, was partly modified to address the situation in Ukraine.
To watch the full meeting again, click here.