Our volunteer Joana Augsburger was at the FemCities Conference which focused on women in political decision making at local level in Europe.
Read her article about this annually organized conference and a short video she realized with Jaimie Just, Policy Officer – Gender Equality and Diversity at the Council of European Municipalities and Regions in Brussels
The ‘FemCities’ Conference 2016 which was held at the Centre Atert in Bertrange the 17th and 18th focused on women in political decision making at local level in Europe. The opening speech which was given by Lydia Mutsch left us with unsatisyfying numbers, only 12% of mayors in Luxembourg are women (13 of 105 mayors). The European average of women mayors lies at 15%.
One of the main goals of the two-day event, where roughly 30 women participated was networking for gender equality in European cities. In order to create an international network and establish strategies for the enhancement of women in politics, participants and speakers from all over Europe were invited, namely Sweden, Serbia, Austria and Albania. While, tackeling the ongoing underrepresentation of women in politics was the main focus, the discussion themes ranged from stereotyped representation of political women in the media to understanding the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in local life. As Monique Leynaar, Professor of Comparative Politics at the Radboud University of Nijmegen noted, the 100 years of womens suffrage are not enough to reach a gender balanced representation in politics as the ‘time-lag theory is being challenged.’ Considering the recent disastrous victory of Trump and the increase of the popularity of the far right she even fears a backlash in the next couple of years.
So how will we reach gender equality in political decision-making positions? Certainly not by promoting out-dated gender stereotypes in a political campaign, as recently done in the ridiculous LSAP ‘Madame on Tour-Eng Posch voller Ideen’. Thankfully, we use our brains instead of our bags for ideas and women empowerment. According to Rozeta Aleksov, the Gender Equality Coordinator at the National Association of Local Authorities in Serbia the biggest success factor for reaching gender equality is networking. She argues that connecting people from local levels to people from national levels, connecting local authorities to experts as well as involving people from academic circles and everyone who is interested in reaching an increasingly gender equal country is of great benefit for everyone.
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