EU Panel Watch Takeover Edition | Gender Representation Isn't the Only Diversity Problem in Brussels

EU Panel Watch is a Brussels-based organisation that advocates for more diverse debate in a city that regularly hosts male, pale and stale conferences. Much like GenderAvenger, they call out events (like this, this, this and this) that include manels and rely on supporters in Brussels and beyond to send photos of EU conferences that highlight the problem of women’s under-representation. Looking at 150 events last year, they found that only one-third of speakers were women, while women of colour represented only 3 percent of panelists, and they want to see that change.

EU Panel Watch has been one of GenderAvenger’s biggest allies for years, so we asked them to share their community actions with us this week. Today, we bring you the EU Panel Watch Action Alert: Takeover Edition. Share these important alerts and make sure to follow EU Panel Watch to keep up with the great work they’re doing, too.

The under-representation of women in public life is a huge problem in Brussels, and it’s not the only diversity issue we deal with. According to POLITICO, around half of Brussels’ 1.1 million residents were born outside of Belgium, the majority of them in Turkey or Africa, and yet the minority population directly employed by EU institutions is only around 1 percent.

Earlier this month, Magid Magid, a black British Member of the European Parliament (MEP), was told to leave the European Parliament on his first day of his new job in Strasbourg, simply because of his appearance. The Guardian reported, “Magid, who wore a baseball cap and a T-shirt reading “f**k fascism” to the opening of Parliament, said he did not know the identity of the person who asked him to leave, although he believed they were an official. He said the person asked if he was lost and then suggested he leave.”

Magid, who represents the Green Party of England and Wales, said his presence in the parliament — an overwhelmingly white institution — “made people feel uncomfortable”.

We encourage all of GenderAvenger’s followers to support our friends at ENAR, the European Network Against Racism, who do great work to fight structural racism within the European Union. You can follow them at @ENAREurope and support their campaign for more diversity under the hashtag #BrusselsSoWhite.

Gender diversity isn’t the only problem in @Europarl_EN. Check out the great work @ENAREurope is doing to fight structural racism within the EU. #BrusselsSoWhite @EUPanelWatch #GenderAvenger