Exactly one hundred years after women won the vote or were first elected to parliament in some EU countries, the data show that women continue to be under-represented in politics and public life, in the European Parliament, national parliaments and governments, and local assemblies.
Virginija Langbakk, director of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) shares her view on major obstacle for women to reach equality with men in politics.
The arguments for gender balance in politics are numerous, and benefit not only women and female politicians, but also parties themselves and the rest of society. After all, women form half the population and need to be better represented in power structures. However, there is now solid evidence both of obstacles and of the strategies that are effective when it comes to increasing women’s participation and representation.
The political parties and the media can be both barriers and important enablers. The EU has committed to achieving a gender balance in political representation and participation as a matter of justice, equality and democracy. Concrete recommendations have been made for achieving this goal, including specific action that could be taken by the EU institutions, national governments, political parties, civil society and the media. In the run-up to the European elections in May 2019, new mandates in the Commission and European Council, and the end of the EU’s current strategy for gender equality, there is a particular focus on how a better gender balance (at least 40 %) or gender parity (50 %), could be achieved in the next Parliament and for other high-level posts in the EU institutions, and how the EU and its Member States can move towards true parity democracy.
The EP press service has organised a seminar for journalists at the occasion of the 2019 International Women’s Day on “Women’s power in politics”, with a particular focus on the upcoming European Elections.