Genderware: the Council of Europe and the Participation of Women in Political Life
Conseil de l'Europe
It is a common misconception that the battle for gender equality in political life has been won. In most member states, women are significantly under-represented in local, regional and national decision-making bodies. On a Europe-wide level, they account for only 18% of parliamentary membership. Having little say in political decisions which may affect one’s life is incompatible with the principles of representative democracy. Genderware traces the history of the Council of Europe policy on promoting women’s participation in political life, while placing it in the context of the Organisation’s overall work on gender equality. It describes the principles and methods behind policies, the institutional mechanisms on which they are based, and analyses the major topics involved. It concludes by discussing areas essential for future work: gender quotas for political parties, guaranteed social rights for women and the reinforcement of secularity.