Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
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Equality of women and men in local life

Equal opportunities - 14.11.2005

The charter on the role of women in local life will be a strong political document (Limassol, 4/5 November 2005)
Over 60 delegates from 22 countries attended CEMR's second seminar on a European charter on the role of women in local life, on 4 and 5 November 2005, in Limassol, Cyprus.
Speakers included the Cyprus minister of Justice, Doros Theodorou, the president of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities and mayor of Limassol, Demetris Kontides, and the EU Commission representative in Cyprus, Themis Themistocleous.
Participants agreed that the charter will:
- convey a strong call for political commitment to equality;
- constitute a strong political support document;
- include the various areas of women's daily life where there is discrimination.
Furthermore, the charter will take into account the general framework of the implementation of the project as directed by the European Commission, including efforts against stereotypes.
The Cyprus minister of justice, Doros Theodorou, recalled the importance of local government in men/women equality: Many services are provided by local government, it is important to find efficient responses to stereotypes on the role of women in local life.
The president of the Union of Cyprus municipalities, Demetris Kontides, announced that a commission on women elected at local level has been created to promote participation and improve the role of women in local politics in Cyprus.
The chair of CEMR's women elected representatives of local and regional government, Vincenta Bosch Palanca said that Equal opportunities is a democratic principle. It helps improve the functioning of society, and the charter must reflect that. She took Spain as an example: Ten years ago, only 15% of MPs were women, whereas today's government has achieved parity, thanks to a strong political will.
CEMR's secretary general, Jeremy Smith, explained the overall aim of the charter: Just like the Versailles charter on municipal liberties, the charter on the role of women in local life will enable us to monitor the respect of local self-government in European countries.
The Limassol seminar was co-organised by CEMR and the Union of Cyprus Municipalities; the project is co-financed by the European Commission.
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