The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe has adopted a report on fighting sexist violence against women in politics at local and regional level, on the occasion of its 5th Statutory Forum, held remotely on 7 December 2020. The Congress calls for the removal of obstacles faced by women in achieving balanced representation in politics and encourages the development of effective mechanisms to amend existing codes of conduct so that sexist discourse and behaviour are not only prohibited but also sanctioned.
Gender-based violence against women in politics is a widespread and often ignored reality despite its significant consequences," said Jelena Drenjanin (Sweden, EPP/CCE), Congress spokesperson for gender equality and rapporteur. "These attacks are a threat to the foundations of democracy and the exercise of democratic institutions. It is our responsibility to protect and support women when they are unjustly attacked as women and as political leaders," said the rapporteur.
The Congress calls on local and regional elected representatives to position themselves as political leaders against sexist discourse and violence perpetrated in institutions and on social media, to review complaints mechanisms within local governments, political parties and associations and to cooperate with civil society organisations and other levels of governance. The Congress also underlines the need to promote among local and regional actors tools such as toolkits, guidelines and awareness-raising campaigns based on the guide "Preventing and combating sexism at local level in Ukraine", developed by the Congress in the framework of its co-operation activities.
At the national level, appropriate measures must also be taken to combat prejudices against gender roles and to fight against the climate of immunity of perpetrators. The recommendation calls on member States to provide resources and support for the policies and projects of territorial authorities, in line with the Council of Europe Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2018-2023.
The fight against gender equality is part of the Congress' 2017-2020 priorities, which focus on the promotion of equality between women and men and the prevention of violence against women. The report contributes to the work of the Congress towards the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 5 "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls" and SDG 16 "Peace, justice and strong institutions".
The Statutory Forum acts on behalf of the Congress between sessions and is convened on the decision of the Bureau of the Congress. The Statutory Forum is composed of the heads of all national delegations together with the members of the Bureau. The outgoing president, the chairs of the committees and the presidents of the political groups participate in it without voting rights.