8 March 2019
Progressive Cities and Regions Are Best Placed to Fight for Women’s Rights in Europe

Progressive Cities and Regions Are Best Placed to Fight for Women’s Rights in Europe

International Women's Day 2019

On International Women’s Day, the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions launches an appeal for women’s rights and gender equality to counter the backlash promoted by rightwing and populist governments, such as in Poland with its restrictive abortion law and in Hungary where gender studies in universities have recently been banned.

Women are still largely underrepresented in political leadership positions at all levels of government. According to the European Institute on Gender Equality (EIGE), to date only 13% of elected mayors, 29% of members of regional parliaments and assemblies, and about 36% of members of regional governments are female. Only 8 European capitals have a woman mayor.




At the European level, with less than 21% of CoR members being female, CoR membership remains significantly less gender balanced than the European Parliament (37% women).

The PES Group is the only Group in the CoR having adopted in May 2018 a Code of Conduct on Gender Equality with the goal of achieving internal gender parity in all bodies/positions.

Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and also integral part to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development.

"Gender equality is a non-negotiable prerequisite for all truly progressive political forces and achieving it must become a top priority. Despite progress made in recent years, we are still far away from equality between men and women in employment, work and pay, and from equal representation of women in decision-making processes", stressed PES Group President Catiuscia Marini.

"Progressive grassroots politicians have a crucial role to play in making sure that EU gender equality legislation is properly implemented on the ground as well as to break taboos, fight sexism and contribute towards empowering women. Likewise, they can lead by example by promoting better gender balance in regional and local decision-making."

On International Women's Day, PES Group members tells us how they are fighting every day in their cities and regions to make gender equality become a reality.



Photo credit: Unsplash / Giacomo Ferroni