FEPS Next Social Europe initiative has been present and prominent within the FEPS activities since the beginning. As a term it stands for a vision of a different, fairer and better Europe. The one that puts people first, that empowers and that protects them. The one that is an area of equal opportunities, social justice and social progress for all.
In the times of the crisis of 2008 and in its aftermath, the discussion on the EU level about how to implement such a vision was frozen. The reasoning behind was an understanding that the Union cannot afford its labour and welfare policies, and that instead there should be cuts made retrenching the European Social Model altogether. But the advocates of such an austerity strategy could have not been more wrong and could have not missed more the demands of the population, which has been demanding from politicians to mobilise all forces to change the trends and bring more equality, more prosperity and more welfare instead.Subsequently, it was therefore most exciting to see some new openings with the debates in 2016-2017 and particularly with the Gothenburg Summit. In their context it is possible to say that while the pertinent challenge is to define “new future for Europe”, to whichever trajectory is to be chosen - it must make EU a social and societal project again. Equipped with knowledge, studies and network of experts – FEPS hopes to contribute to that ongoing historical debate, focusing its proposals alongside 4 main streams of work
- Strenghtening Social Investment
- Inequalities matter
- Revitalising active welfare states
- Gender equality
In today’s Europe, gender equality is not only advancing at a snail’s pace but it also faces serious threats. In the face of the rise of far right parties, conservative family values and discriminatory stereotyping across Member States, women rights movements suddenly find themselves fighting (again) for the same rights our mothers and grandmothers fought hard in the past and that we took for granted.
Based on the conviction that equality cannot be conceived by leaving half of its population behind, FEPS believes in a gender just society where women and men are given the same opportunities. In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, the work of FEPS on gender equality issues has focused on research and awareness raising for women’s rights through equal representation, balancing work and family life, as well as tackling violence against women and migration-related barriers. Informed by cutting edge feminist research, FEPS is developing further its capacity to inform debates with policy recommendations on issues related to gender, minorities and sexualities in the context of current political momentums.
On the basis of previous work on austerity and gender, FEPS examines and aims to understand gendered mobilization in populism, nationalism and also in extremism. The recent mass mobilization of women of all ages around the #MeToo movements has demonstrated the urgent need to address the societal, cultural and structural obstacles faced by women in their daily lives and therefore FEPS will to continue its endeavour to foster the idea that gender equality is not a cost but an important investment for our future and the economic and social prosperity of all Europeans, men and women.
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