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EU and gender equality: - 25.02.2008
CEMR Conference on gender equality: Local and regional governments call for more EU support
The final declaration of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions' (CEMR) conference on local actions for gender equality (Pisa, 20-21 February 2008) calls on the EU to do more to support equality of women and men.
The final declaration recognises the essential and positive role played by the European Union in the progress regarding legislation promoting equality of women and men. It also welcomes the fact that the Lisbon treaty includes gender equality in the common values of the EU. However the Pisa declaration calls upon the European Union to promote pro-active measures for gender equality in order to ensure real progress on the ground. It also notes with regret that the European Commission currently has no specific programme to support the follow-up activity for the implementation of CEMR's charter for equality of women and men in local life.
Participants at the Pisa conference finally appealed for the principle of parity to be respected in the candidacy lists for the European Parliament elections in June 2009.
Pisa 2008: 25 years of gender equality in our towns and regions
The Pisa event was the final conference of CEMR's project "Implementing the European charter for equality of women and men in local life", but it was also the 25th anniversary of CEMR's first conference on gender equality held in Pisa in 1983 under the initiative of the then president of the province Fausta Giani Cecchini.
450 participants from over 30 countries attended the meeting and debated issues such as gender equality in Europe and in the world, implementing CEMR's charter for equality, as well as the future of the charter.
The chair of the European Parliament's committee on women's rights and gender equality, Anna Zàborskà, expressed her regret that the European Commission will not support the charter anymore: Rest assured that the European Parliament, and I personally, will do whatever we can to support your efforts and promote CEMR's charter for equality.
This view was echoed by member of the European Parliament and former chair of CEMR's committee of women elected representatives of local and regional governments, Edite Estrela. Many speakers wondered why the European Commission supported the drawing of the charter but does not foresse any support for its future.
The advisor to the president of Slovenia, Magdalena Tovornik, told delegates that gender equality is one of the priorities of the EU Slovenian presidency. Wandia Seaforth, of UN-Habitat, called on delegates to keep working on gender equality: Europe is the leading player on this issue, you set the standards for the rest of the world...
The Pisa conference was also the last of Vicenta Bosch Palanca as chair of CEMR's committee of women elected representatives of local and regional governments. She is succeeded by Jocelyne Bougeard, deputy mayor of Rennes. Jocelyne Bougeard also called on the European institutions to support CEMR's work in favour of gender equality.
Over 600 municipalities have signed CEMR's charter of equality between women and men. A special session was devoted to them: representatives from Paris, Vienna and other signatory municipalities explained what concrete local measures were taken after the signing of the charter.
The municipality of Pisa, province of Pisa, Tuscany region and the Italian association of CEMR (AICCRE) were co-organisers of the conference. The acting mayor of Pisa Bianca Storchi; the president of the province of Pisa Andrea Pieroni; and AICCRE secretary general Roberto di Giovan Paolo all spoke to the conference, reiterating their support to the charter and to CEMR's effort towards gender equality in Europe.
CEMR's European charter of equality of women and men
In 2005, with the financial support of the European Commission, CEMR launched a project on "The town for equality". That project aimed mainly to collect best practice cases of gender equality in European local governments as well as at setting up a methodology to help local representatives achieve true gender equality in their municipalities.
The charter itself is the continuation of that project. Its aim is to encourage local politicians to sign it, thus committing themselves publicly to implement the measures in the charter in their municipalities.
Both projects, the drafting of the Charter and the implementation of the charter have the financial support of the European Commission too.
The European Charter for equality of women and men in local life (in 17 languages)
Pierre Vander Auwera
Tel. : + 32 2 500 05 41
Skype : pierre_vda