Democracy should apply to all women and men equally, concluded participants at an international conference that took place in Kyiv on 1 December, where a new regional study on the situation in Eastern Partnership countries was presented.
The event focused on women’s political representation in the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus) It brought together more than 80 participants representing Parliaments, Central Election Commissions, media, civil society organisations and independent gender experts, who exchanged opinions and discussed measures and strategies to enhance women’s political representation in their respective countries. The new study reveals that in all the countries surveyed women are less likely to run for political office and to be elected both to national parliaments and to local government bodies. The study shows that women hold fewer than 20% of seats in parliament in all the countries with the exception of Belarus, where 30% of parliamentary seats are held by women. Stereotypical views and assumptions about the role of women in society are among major barriers to women’s political representation in all the countries examined. The study contains country-specific and general recommendations to politicians, parliamentarians and governments.
Some of the recommendations will be implemented under the regional project “Reforming electoral legislation and practice and developing regional co-operation” conducted as part of the European Union/Council of Europe Programmatic Co-operation Framework for Eastern Partnership countries.