Kirsti Kolthoff
President
FEMANET SEMINAR
22.01.2008
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NO DEMOCRACY
•
without
PARITY DEMOCRACY
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European Women’s Lobby
• Established in 1990
• Membership based women’s organisation from 28
countries - 25 in the EU and 18 European Wide
International organisations
• 4000 members - largest umbrella organisations of
women’s associations in the European Union (EU)
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Europe
Ewl
EU25 Member
States:
•Austria
•Belgium
•Cyprus
•Czech Republic
•Denmark
•Estonia
•Finland
•France
•Germany
•Greece
•Hungary
•Ireland
•Italy
•Latvia
•Lithuania
•Luxembourg
•Malta
•The Netherlands
•Poland
•Portugal
•Slovakia
•Slovenia
•Spain
•Sweden
•United Kingdom
Candidate Countries:
•Bulgaria
•Croatia
•Romania
•Turkey
Application Pending:
•Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia
Population
third largest population bloc in the
world after China and India, with
more than 450 million inhabitants.
20 official languages
All member states are governed by
parliamentary democracy. Seven
constitutional monarchies which
nevertheless rely on parliamentary
government:
1957 six sign the Treaty of Rome
establishing the European
Economic community
May 1, 2004 biggest enlargement of
the EU since the dawn of European
construction
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Areas of work of EWL
•
•
•
•
European gender equality
policies
Violence against women
Women’s human rights
Economic and social justice for
women
• Women in decision-making
• Women’s diversity
• Women’s rights at
international level
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EWL Structure
EWL Member organisations in Europe
National Co-ordinations of women’s NGOs
European Member organisations
EWL General Assembly
(≃100 delegates)
EWL Secretariat
(Brussels)
EWL Board of Administration
(34 elected members)
EWL Secretary General
EWL staff
EWL Executive Committee
1 President, 2 Vice Pres, 1 Treasurer,
3 members
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European Women‘s Lobby
(EWL)
EWL Member
organisations
EWL Board members
EWL Executive
Committee
Influence EU Policy
State governments and parliaments
EU parliamentarians
European Parliament
(Women‘s Rights‘ Committee)
EU Commission
(DG: Employment
and Social Affairs)
The Council = the ministers
from the member states
EWL Secretariat
(Brussels)
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WOMEN IN DECISION-MAKING:
WHAT IS AT STAKE IS THE
EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY
• Women are mostly under represented in
decision-making in all European countries.
A few examples from politics:
• Women in the European Parliament: 31%
• Women in national Parliaments in EU and
accession countries : 23%
• Women in national governments in the EU MS
and accession countries: 22%
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Reasons that are commonly given for
women’s under-representation in
decision-making :
1. Women’s economic subordination:
economic, social and cultural resources are
necessary to attain decision-making positions
1. Symbolic factors - traditional gender roles:
decision-making seen as a male domain
2. Deficit in political representation:
electoral institutions, laws and functioning:
list system or majority systems, holding of
several mandates, political parties as gate
keepers, status of elected persons etc
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5 areas of concern for women’s
rights and economic independence
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Enhancing reconciliation of work and family life
Care - care service - and who cares?
Eradicating gender-based violence and trafficking in
human beings
Eliminating gender stereotypes in society
Promoting gender equality outside the EU - human
rights/external policy/co-operation development
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Commitments made towards equality
between women and men in decisionmaking
• Articles 7 and 8 of CEDAW
• No binding provision on women in political
decision-making or other in European institutions
• Positive actions on the labour market allowed by
article 141§4 of the EU Treaty but not mandatory
• Different parity/quota systems or positive measures
in some European countries
• Norwegian legislation on equality between women
and men in boards of administration of big
enterprises
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Some conditions for success of measures for
the promotion of women in political
decision-making
• Political parties are necessary vehicles for
equality
• Voluntary quotas by political parties can work
(Sweden), but if not obligatory in the law, always
risk that they are removed
• Rules –in the context of proportional voting- must
insist on strict alternation of women and men on
candidate lists
• Parity or quota rules must lay down minimum
percentages associated with penalties
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EWL WORK IN RELATION TO
WOMEN IN DECISION MAKING
• A significant democratic and political challenge at
all levels
• The image of the “people’s representative” is
essentially male, while European societies are equally
composed of women and men
• European democracy cannot be complete without
the equal participation of women in the decisionmaking process at all levels
• Some groups of women in Europe, such as for
example black, migrant and ethnic minority women,
disabled or young women are quasi absent from
political decision-making
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EWL and Parity Democracy in
Europe
At the 2002 EWL General Assembly, EWL members adopted
motions stressing the need to lobby for parity democracy to
be introduced at European level = the equal representation of
women and men in decision-making positions.
The ideas that we are promoting by working towards parity
democracy:
• Women are represented in all social groups; they are neither
a minority nor a category
• Women represent more than half of humanity: a quantitative
dimension
• Women represent one of the two components of humanity: a
qualitative dimension
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EWL campaign
“Have we got the balance right?”
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KEY LESSONS AND
CONCLUSIONS
• to put women’s issues on the political agenda
• to implement truly the gender mainstreaming
strategy, a better representation of women in
decision-making is crucial - parity
• binding legislation to promote gender equality in
decision-making at European level
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From issue group at EWL GA 07
to be discussed at board m Jan 08
To use experience in EWL from “new” MS and how?
• EWL should give an initiative to make a formal big coalition for parity
in the law all over Europe with all women party groups in the
European parliament, with women network in the TU at EU level, with
experts, media women and women dealing with gender equality in EC
• This coalition should prepare a focused proposal and budget of the
Europe wide campaign for parity in the law.
• This coalition should lobby EU parliament and EC in order to get a
sort of “Daphne project” for political representation of women
• This coalition should stat its first parallel electoral campaign all over
Europe (and adjust it also for the future EU states and neighbors)
before next elections for the European parliament.
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www.womenlobby.org
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