The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is an NGO founded in 1990 and the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union (EU), working to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men. As of November 2009, EWL membership extends to organisations in all 27 EU member states and the three candidate countries, as well as to 21 European-wide bodies, representing a total of more than 2500 organisations.
With a Secretariat based in Brussels, Belgium, the EWL is one of the longest-standing European level NGOs, and works closely with European Institutions and civil society partners. At the international level, the EWL has consultative status at the Council of Europeand the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and participates regularly in the activities of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
The EWL’s mission is to work towards the promotion and respect for women’s human rights, by supporting diversity among women and equality between women and men. The EWL seeks to voice the concerns of its member organisations across Europe by means of active policy and advocacy work, project-management, monitoring and awareness-raising across different policy areas. These include women’s economic and social position, women in decision-making, sexual and reproductive health and rights, immigration, integration and asylum. The EWL, through its European Policy Action Centre on Violence Against Women (EPAC-VAW), also works to combat all forms of violence against women. The EWL’s EPAC-VAW also manages a dedicated European Observatory on this issue. Furthermore, the EWL supports the use of gender mainstreaming for the effective incorporation of a women’s rights perspective into all European policies.