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“Women have to overcome significant challenges to win elections in local government”

Secretary General Strasbourg, France 20 December 2017
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“Women have to overcome significant challenges to win elections in local government”

Speaking at the brainstorming session on “Women and the reconciliation process in Bosnia and Herzegovina” in Strasbourg on 20 December 2017 organised by the Council of Europe under its Confidence Building Programme, Congress Secretary General Andreas KIEFER addressed the six women mayors as well as representatives of governments and parliaments from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and presented the activities of the  Congress  related to gender equality, with a particular focus on the participation of women in politics and local elections.

“Balanced participation of women and men in political life is essential for democracy but in many member States women face overwhelming obstacles in preparing to stand and finally in elections” he stated.  He referred to the Congress position which advocates for quotas for women in elections as an effective means to tackle this difficulty and applauded the amendment of the electoral law in Bosnia and Herzegovina prescribing a minimum of 40% for the underrepresented gender on candidates’ lists.

Legal provisions alone, however, would only be the beginning of a process leading to a change in the culture and to more women in political functions. This was also addressed in the Congress report on the last local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  “Improved political participation of women requires their economic empowerment as well as capacity-building programmes and candidate training for elections. We are very happy that finally six out of 140 mayors are women in order to break the ice for more women to follow” he concluded.

 

Congress texts on women’s rights and equality between men and women