Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Equality of women and men in local life


Although political commitment and new legislation have contributed to the advancement of gender equality in the past decades, many challenges still remain. For instance, in today’s Europe, women remain underrepresented in decision-making positions in both politics and business; women make up 29% of members of the single or lower houses of parliaments and only 28,8% of board members for publicly listed companies in the EU. They also continue to earn on average 16% less than men for the same work.

In order to promote gender equality at the local and regional level, CEMR launched the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life in 2006. The Charter is both a political document and a practical instrument. It encourages local and regional governments to make a public commitment to equality and to implement the principles listed in the Charter. The Charter proposes concrete methods by which equality of women and men can be pursued in different fields of competences: political participation, employment, public services, urban planning, etc. Today, over 1,850 local and regional governments in 36 European countries have signed the Charter.

The Observatory

To further support Charter signatories, CEMR launched the Observatory of the European Charter for Equality in March 2012. Its online platform showcases the best practices and examples of successful local gender equality policies and facilitates peer-learning amongst signatories. It also includes a guide on how to elaborate an action plan for equality as well as an atlas presenting the local and regional authorities that have signed the Charter.
Our objectives:
  • To provide information and increase the visibility of the Charter;
  • To follow-up the implementation of the Charter;
  • To provide information and support to signatories;
  • To serve as a platform for the exchange of good practices between signatories.
The Standing Committee

The CEMR Standing Committee for Equality is composed of elected representatives from member associations. It decides on the overall objectives of the Observatory and follows its work. The Committee liaises with the European institutions to advocate for sustainable support of actions in the field of gender equality at local and regional level. The Standing Committee for Equality is currently chaired by Silvia Baraldi, Municipal Councillor of Legnago (Italy).

The Network of National Coordinators

The Observatory works closely with a network of national coordinators composed of representatives from the member associations of CEMR. The national coordinators ensure the link between the Observatory and the signatories from each country.

CEMR coordinator: Annelies Coessens
Contact: charter[@]
Signatories of the Charter: list

CEMR spokespersons:

Municipal Councillor of Legnago (Italy), Silvia Baraldi
Chair of the Mannheim City Council (Germany), Claudia Schöning-Kalender

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