Using the European Citizens Initiative [ECI] to help women across Europe
Diana Wallis is a very public and highly beneficial role model for women everywhere. In addition to being the Vice President of the European Parliament, a highly demanding role itself, Diana remains committed to being involved in many other causes, and successfully combines the former, with several other areas of interest. She is also a trained solicitor who specialised in European commercial litigation.
On top of all of these achievements, Diana is currently standing as an independent candidate for President of the European Parliament, in a very brave attempt to challenge the current status quo of nominations of Presidents (usually men) of the House, between the major political parties. There have only been two female presidents in this Institution, and she is campaigning to be the 3rd.
One such cause is health, in relation to the condition Endometriosis, which affects one woman in 10. In her 30s Diana suffered from Endometriosis, and has been a tireless campaigner for greater EU recognition in this area of need, which remains unnecessarily misunderstood. Diana is currently preparing a European Citizens Initiative between a million women based in various countries across Europe, asking for more funds to be put into researching this disease. Please see the following article for information about Diana’s campaign and other useful facts.
Diana has long felt that there is a glass ceiling, blocking women's access to top positions both in politics and business arenas. She maintains that the main reason for this, is that women do not have the same 'networks' as men do, which help them to get them to the top. A few years ago Diana started an inter-institutional cross party network of influential women in the EU arena, mostly composed of Commissioners, Vice Presidents, and, Chairs of committees, which meets regularly and discusses gender issues related to top jobs in Brussels. This network has proved very useful as a support group to women in this arena. For example, at one point, it appeared that only 3 women Commissioners were to be appointed in late 2009, Diana used the support network to start a Women in Ties peaceful demonstration in front of the Commission buildings. As a direct result of the enormous media coverage, considerable pressure was placed on Member States. The outcome was that 8 female Commissioners (of the 27) were appointed. View this pioneering, entertaining, and, successful demonstration by women.
The first ever worldwide study of the societal impact of endometriosis has found a significant loss of work productivity among women who suffer from the condition – an inflammatory disease associated with chronic pain and infertility during the reproductive years. Endometriosis accounts for a significant loss of productivity of 11 hours per woman per week according to a paper published last year. This means of course, that some of these women suffer from decreased incomes as a result.