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European Parliament passes new strategy for equality between women and men

The European Parliament voted 341 votes to 281 in favour of the ‘EU strategy for equality between women and men post 2015’, also known as the Noichl Report, this morning. The report, tabled by German MEP Maria Noichl, addresses a range of gender equality issues, including tackling violence against women, calling on member states to guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to contraception and abortion, and endorsing better sex and relationships education. The British Humanist Association (BHA) contacted key MEPs ahead of the vote and urged them to support the report, with the European Humanist Federation involved in more extensive efforts. The BHA has welcomed today’s outcome.

The result follows on from the adoption in March of the Tarabella ‘Report on progress on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2013’, and represents progress over the extremely narrow defeat in both October and December 2013 of the Estrella ‘Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’. In March this year the Parliament also passed the Panzeri ‘Report on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2013 and the European Union’s policy on the matter’, which called for access to safe and legal abortion worldwide.

BHA Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns Pavan Dhaliwal, who is also Vice Chair of the European Humanist Federation, commented, ‘We welcome today’s passage of the Noichl Report, in the face of fierce opposition and lobbying from reactionary religious groups that oppose women’s rights to abortion and comprehensive sex and relationships education. It is vital that every young person receives full and comprehensive SRE as all the evidence shows that this is what leads to the best outcomes in terms of sexual health and including, ironically, reducing the number of abortions. Similarly, it is right that women in this country have the right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term, and we very much hope that similar rights are extended to other European countries.’

Notes

For further comment or information contact Pavan Dhaliwal, BHA Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns, at pavan@humanism.org.uk or on 020 7324 3065.

Read the European Humanist Federation’s analysis of the voting result: http://humanistfederation.eu/news-fhe.php?pages=landmark-vote-for-gender-quality-sexual-and-reproductive-rights-and-lgbti-rights-at-the-european-parliament

Read about the BHA’s campaigning on Sexual and Reproductive Rights: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/public-ethical-issues/sexual-and-reproductive-rights/

Read about the BHA’s campaigning on PSHE and Sex and Relationships Education: http://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/school-curriculum/pshe-and-sex-and-relationships-education/

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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