Gender equality is one of the fundamental values of the European Union. This is vital not only for social justice but for the health of our democracy and economy. It is time for true gender equality in every level of governance.
Over the years there have been significant strides to empower women and redress the social and economic imbalances that exist. Despite these efforts we still have a long way to go before we can claim that there is gender equality in Europe.
Eighty days before the European coinciding with local and regional elections in some Members States, the European Committee of the Regions is encouraging more women to stand for election. We need more women politicians in political assemblies at local, regional and European level.
On International Women's Day as the President and First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions, we call for gender equality in politics, which includes our own institution.
In 2019, the chairs of our six commissions are equally shared between men and women but women still remain a minority in our assembly. This is simply not enough. Ahead of the next nominations of our Committee's members in January 2020, we are calling on the nominating bodies of all EU Member States to redress the imbalance and increase female representation in our Committee.
If we want politics to be truly democratic, we need to create opportunity, break down barriers and empower more women to enter politics. Our representative democracy is not representative if at all levels of government and in most political positions, women are in a minority. Less than 30% of regional parliamentarians and fewer than one in seven city mayors are women.
So it is time for radical change. It is time for European politics and democracy to fully reflect our values and society. It is time for true gender equality in every level of politics.