[Brussels, 17 November 2011] At the 5th European Equality Summit, the EWL emphasised the pivotal role that regional and local authorities play in achieving a gender equal society.
In her presentation, Elizabeth Law, member of the EWL Executive Committee, pointed out that the decision-making levels closest to people are municipalities and regions. It is here where the decisions about the most concrete aspects of daily life, such as housing, security, public transport, the world of work, or health, are taken.
Ms. Law showed that women are underrepresented in regional and local level decision-making in all EU member states and called for urgent action and commitments to improve the situation. National level quota legislation should be introduced, and regional and local authorities should meanwhile follow the example of regions that, in the absence of national legislation, have decided to themselves introduce parity measures.
Ms. Law also argued that if we are to achieve a society based on women’s rights and equality between women and men, it is essential that local and regional decision-makers and authorities take the gender equality perspective fully into account.
She pointed out that local and regional authorities committed to gender mainstreaming and positive action can have a significant impact on the lives of women by ensuring that services and budgets are organized in a gender sensitive manner. Tools such as gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting can be very effective when they applied close to people.
The 5th European Equality Summit was organised in Poznan on 14th and 15th November The theme of the Summit was ‘Implementation of Equality Policies at the Local and Regional Level’.