We will keep working every day to achieve the milestones our generation has inherited 


The European Parliament celebrated International Women's Day with Commander Samantha Cristoforetti and with Iranian Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. In her speech, the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola said that International Women's Day must be seen as an invitation for societies to do better.

Dear colleagues,

International Women’s Day is marked in our annual calendar not only to recognise the achievements of women and girls across the world but also as a call to action.  A rallying point to strengthen gender equality across all spheres of our society. 

I am so proud to be here as the third woman President of this Institution, and I am so grateful for those who came before me, who made the path easier for my generation, for all of us. I am here - we are here - because of the battles that they fought for us. We stand on their shoulders as we reiterate our promise to make it easier for those who come after us. 

Women have changed the world. And we don’t say this enough.

We have with us today Commander Samantha Cristoforetti, the first European woman to command the International Space Station.  Samantha, thank you for showing every young girl in Europe that they can reach for the stars. You beat the odds and you thrived. Your hard work and determination are an example to us all. 

On International Women’s Day, it is important to recognise the achievements of women and girls around the world, and beyond. As a source of empowerment and inspiration for every young girl. And yet, the reality is that progress towards true equality remains painfully slow. That can no longer be an acceptable benchmark.

Today I want to honour all those women who are fighting for their freedom and inclusion: women who are killed, beaten, and abused all over the world just for being women. All those women still fighting for their rights. All those women who have to face higher standards and have to prove every day that they are capable of doing the job. All those mothers, daughters, sisters who face hurdles every day that we do not talk about. All those women who face all this and remain unbowed and unbroken. 

Ukrainian women fighting against an illegal Russian invasion - who to quote the first woman President of the European Commission - “smashed a glass ceiling over the head of the Russian invaders.”

The Chibok Girls kidnapped nine years ago by Boko Haram in Nigeria many of whom remain in captivity. They have not been forgotten and our commitment to bring back our girls remains as strong today.

Afghan women who are silenced, repressed, mistreated, robbed of their education and who continue to suffer at the hands of the Taliban. 

Iranian women who are standing up for life and liberty and paying the ultimate price. Dr Shirin Ebadi is with us today - a Nobel prize laureate and one of Iran’s first female judges. Dr Ebadi, we appreciate the immense effort that you have made to be with us today. You embody the fight of Iranian women. The fight for what is fair, and for what is right. Your presence is a reminder that the fight will not cease and that freedom requires courage and sacrifice. It is also a warning to those who hope it might. Women will not go silently into the night. They will not give up. And the European Parliament will continue to stand with the women of Iran.

Dear colleagues,

My hope is for International Women’s Day to be seen as an invitation for societies to do better. 

Even within our Union, gender equality will remain unfinished business for as long as we have not achieved equal pay for equal work. Today still, every second woman around us has experienced sexual harassment. The time is now for the European Union to lead by example - to set standards in criminalising violence against women, to improve access to justice, and to ratify the Istanbul Convention before the end of this term. 

When women are free, when rights are respected, when education is recognised, when pay is equal, when women are protected, when opportunities are fair and when playing fields are level, when we realise that when we are all equal then we all benefit, that is when we can say we have achieved the milestones our generation has inherited. That is when we can say we have left this place, this Union. better than we found it and we will keep working every day to see that happen.