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Equality of women and men in local life

Equal opportunities - 09.02.2005

Final conference of the "A European town for equality" project (7/8 Feb. 2005): The keys to women/men equality
The final conference of CEMR's project A European town for equality has taken place on 7 and 8 February 2005 in Brussels.
The main themes addressed in the course of the conference were :
- Gender mainstreaming. Mainstreaming on its own, without a well planned political support, loses much of its usefulness. It is also a good way to gauge women's quality of life if it placed in a global perspective.
- Men-women cooperation. Men and women must be involved in gender equality in a balanced way. Also, the impact on the whole of society of initiatives in this field must be assessed. Any forum or debate on gender equality should include male speakers to be really useful.
- Involving young people in politics. Much progress remains to be done in this field. measures must be taken to promote the involvement of young men and women in politics.
The conference included several workshops and round tables : on women's involvment in the decision-making process, men/women equality in local administrations, equality in public services, adapting our towns and cities to women... Several municipalities also showed their achievements in gender equality as well as their shortfalls.
The round table on immigrant women saw many interventions.Speakers noted that these women are seldom represented in this debate, and that there is a need to help them express themselves. Others debated on the ways to improve these women's lives.
In all, some 200 delegates from 23 countries attended the conference, including:
  • Edite Estrela, vice-President of the European Parliament's committee on women's rights and gender equality;
  • Paz Fernandez Felgueroso, Mayor of Gijón;
  • Beate Weber, Mayor of Heidelberg;
  • Catharina Tarras-Wahlberg, Deputy mayor of Stockholm.
    The conference was chaired by CEMR's committee of women electeed representatives of local and regional authorities, Vicenta Bosch Palanca. Other participants included European Commission DG Environment director, Luisa Pavan Woolfe, a representative of DG Employment, Social affairs and Equal opportunities. Many municipalities and towns attended including Venise, Frankfurt, Vienna, Rotterdam, Rennes...
    Worldwide and future perspectives
    The representative of the world's organisation of local governments Un ited Cities and Local Governments, Emilia Saiz, gave the debates a worldwide dimension. "Contrary to Europe, Africa counts more and more women involved in the local decision making progress. Europe lags behind on this issue".
    CEMR will draft its European charter on women in local lif next year. The charter will finalise the Europan town for equality project. Its aim will be to list the obstacles to a greater role for women in local life, and to identify possible solutions.
    The European town for equality was part of the EU's 5th action programme for equal opportunities. It is a CEMR initiative funded by the European Commission.
    Its aim was to establish a methodology towards achieving the equality town. This virtual town will then be used as a model enabling local governments to improve the situation in terms of men/women equality.
    Your CEMR contact : Sandra Ceciarini
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