Por Soraya Rodríguez Ramos

Women at the Forefront

The role of the European Union in eradicating discrimination against women

The European society does believe in gender equality and women’s rights. Integrating the gender perspective in all policies and fighting against gender-based violence are inherent to our identity, and, they have become even more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Promoting the values of the European Union is our way of protecting and ensuring the development of more democratic, inclusive, resilient, just and sustainable societies. Women, in the European Union and in many other parts of the world, today suffer from discrimination, violations of their fundamental rights, and inequality. From the European Parliament, and chiefly, from the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) and Renew Europe, we are committed to pushing for women’s rights, ending gender-based violence, and combating gender stereotypes both within and outside the EU borders.

Women to the Forefront is a space designed to give voice to women who are at the front of the struggle for human rights, and those who work for women’s rights and freedoms where they are violated as well as to push for major changes to achieve greater equality in our societies.

First European directive against gender-based violence

The plenary of the European Parliament has ratified its position on the directive to combat violence against women and domestic violence after months of work and discussion of amendments in the Committees on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and Civil Liberties. The final agreement on the crimes addressed in the directive includes key provisions strengthening the protection of victims and establishing more effective prevention measures.

The following article analyses the key improvements we have made in the negotiations at the European Parliament with the inclusion of issues such as: access to safe and legal abortion, support for orphans of gender-based violence, combatting online gender-based violence and enhancing a holistic approach in relation to victims’ protection, among others.


Parliamentary activity

In the Media


19 April 2024


MEP Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, as rapporteur of the dossier of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), presented the draft report on the amendment of Directive 2012/29/EU on minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, known as the Victims’ Rights Directive. The presentation was made in the LIBE-FEMM Joint Committee, together with the rapporteur by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Javier Zarzalejos, also from Spain.

Trafficking in human beings is a serious crime, usually committed in the context of organised crime, which directly attacks the fundamental rights of those who are trafficked. The Directive 2011/36/EU, adopted in 2011, aims to strengthen the prevention of this crime. It brings a comprehensive, gender and human rights approach to the fight against trafficking in human beings.

The sentence of Polish US activist Justyna Wydrzyńska for helping a woman victim of gender-based violence to get an abortion has sparked a debate on sexual and reproductive rights in the European Union. MEP Soraya Rodríguez has questioned the silence of the European institutions regarding this condemnation and has demanded actions against the Polish government for violating the rights of activists. It is crucial to recognise and protect the work of these activists, who fight for human rights and women rights.

Related articles in the blog

Europe: decisive step against gender-based violence

What seemed impossible just over a month ago has happened: the first European directive to combat violence against women and domestic violence is a reality.

Towards an egalitarian Europe: Legislative Progress in the European Parliament

Soraya Rodríguez analyses the progress towards an egalitarian Europe in this legislature on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

The Europe that did not love women: The directive against gender-based violence, farther today than ever before

The Council of the European Union maintains a backward position, characterised by a clear lack of commitment and political will to take this important initiative forward.

Women at the Forefront