The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) will hold an information meeting with Finland's group of Social Democratic Women on Friday 16 October - as part of the newly formed Agency's efforts to inform stakeholders about its operations. Today's meeting will be dedicated to presenting the agency's mandate, structures and working methods. The meeting will also allow the Agency to inform the European Parliament about its overall objectives which include supporting the EU institutions and the Member States in promoting equality between women and men, combating sex discrimination, and raising EU citizens' gender awareness.

Ms Virginija Langbakk, the EIGE's Director said: "Today's meeting with Ms Jaakonsaari and the Social Democratic Women of Finland allows us to establish a first point of contact with an elected representative of Finland - and an important advocate for the promotion of gender equality. This first encounter will set the scene for an exchange of views and give us the chance to discuss possible areas of cooperation with a view to strengthening gender equality across Europe ".

In turn Ms Lisa Jaakonsaari MEP for Finland said: "Women's points of view are very important, especially in these times of economic crisis. Unemployment is currently on the rise and this has a particular influence on women. What is more, due to last year's financial crisis Member States find themselves deep in debt. This is a tremendous concern and challenge, particularly for women, as most women are employed in the public sector and benefit from social services such as child and elderly care".