In the past week there has (finally) been some talk of the importance of ensuring that women’s voices are heard in the EU ‘Brexit’ referendum that will take place here in the UK on 23 June 2016. Not only is this vital because the debate has, thus far, been dominated by the voices of men (and particularly male politicians), but also because of the enormous impact that the EU has had and continues to have on women’s lives inside and outside of the Union. On this theme, this week’s Birmingham Brief (a weekly short briefing published by the University of Birmingham) is written by me and highlights some key points about EU membership and its benefits for women.The Brief is available here, and the conclusion reads:
It is incumbent upon all factions in the debates on the UK’s future in the EU to address the Union’s role in developing, applying and enforcing legal standards that promote gender equality. This requires a broadening of the debate and reflection on how EU membership has fundamentally impacted on the lives of women. Women’s voices must be central to the debate on the EU; women’s experiences must be accounted for in any argument that the UK should leave the EU; and plans for the continued protection of women’s rights at home and abroad must be articulated by those advocating a vote to leave the EU.