As the assembly of local and regional politicians, the European Committee of the Regions is ready and willing to promote gender balance at local and regional level and to capitalise on the expertise of the network of European associations and partner organisations working on this topic. It will act as a platform for exchanging best practice among CoR members, young local leaders and other politicians from all over Europe to promote gender equality in local and regional politics and decision-making. The CoR already has an ambitious
Strategy for a gender balance in Members' Participation in the CoR, adopted in 2019.
Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Region, says: "
Supporting and ensuring gender equality is key to build a social and just Europe. We, locally and regionally elected representatives must lead by example in this respect ."
Anne Karjalainen, chair of the CoR's Commission for Social Policy,
Education, Employment, Research and Culture, says:"For more women in politics, let's start at grassroots level!"
This calls on Member States and the European Council to nominate and appoint gender-balanced delegations to the CoR.
It also calls for a shift in presentation, showcasing the work of female members, making sure all panels include women as speakers and providing training to support gender parity at political and staff level.
The CoR secretariat has made an important first step on gender balance in this year's action plan for the implementation of its Equal Opportunities Strategy. It has introduced a fixed target to achieve a better gender balance in management positions in line with the European Commission's 40% initiative. The target of 40% in management positions, set for 2025 (end of the new term of office), should be closely followed up.
In addition, an informal network for gender balance in management positions was launched by staff members in 2019 with the support of the administration. Other measures are proposed in the 2020 Action Plan to try to significantly improve the considerable imbalance in the institution.
The European Committee of the Regions will act on four fronts to foster gender parity at all levels:
The von der Leyen Commission has made clear its commitment to achieve a “Union of Equality" and the new Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 addresses the need to develop a “gender equal Europe" by 2025.
Europe has roughly a million local and regional elected office-holders, but only about 30% of them are women. Gender equality is a core value for the European Union, clearly stated in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and a key principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights. It is crucial to tackle the barriers women face in entering politics and actively engage politicians in this matter.