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de Brún backs establishment of European Institute for Gender Equality

14 March, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today voted for the establishment of a European Institute for Gender Equality to address the "fundamental societal inequalities between women and men."

The report written by Lissy Gröner MEP and Amalia Sartori MEP was adopted at first reading in the European Parliament by 362 votes in favour, to 263 against, with 18 abstentions.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"On March 8th 2005, on the occasion of International Women's Day, the European Commission published its proposal towards establishing a European Institute for Gender Equality.

"When voting in favour of the proposal today, we made it clear in the European Parliament that we want to see this institute established as soon as possible. There is certainly no reason why it should not be up and running by next year at the latest.

"Often data collected on gender is not comparable between one member state and another and where the broad range of EU policies is concerned no data on the gender impact is available at all. The establishment of thisinstitute should ensure that data is properly analysed so that promoting and achieving gender equality becomes a part of all EU policies in the future. Whilst the principle of equality has been established throughout the EU, the practice has not yet lived up to this. The European Institute for Gender Equality will give new impetus to the drive for equality and I welcome today's decision to establish this by next year at the latest.

"As gender representation on public bodies is a major issue with regard to achieving equality, it is important that there should be no less than 40% of women on the board of the new Gender Institute. At an event which I hosted in Brussels last week, the Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics at Queens University presented the findings of research into the issue of gender inequality in a range of countries in Central and Eastern Europe. This highlighted that once a pattern of under representation has been established, the same pattern will keep repeating itself, unless concrete steps are taken to break the cycle.

"The European Institute for Gender Equality should be a centre of excellence which can drive the equality agenda forward. It should be funded on a par with other such agencies. The proposed budget of EUR52.5 million to 2013 would demonstrate the EU's intent to begin at least to effectively address the issue of gender inequality." ENDS

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