20 January 2014 14:22

 “Parity Democracy for Europe: No Modern European Democracy without Gender Equality” is the title of a new project coordinated by the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies to promote active democratic citizenship and parity democracy in Europe.
The project is organised in partnership with the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) which is based in Brussels, the Women Employment Information Centre in Lithuania, the Forum 50% in the Czech Republic and the Romanian Women’s Lobby.
According to project coordinator in Cyprus Maria Angeli, the specific aim is to promote the active participation of women as voters and candidates in the European Parliament elections of 2014 as well as increase the number of women among those elected.
“The under-representation of women in decision-making represents a serious challenge in terms of the democratic functioning of all EU countries and of the European Union,” she told The Cyprus Daily.
Furthermore, the campaign touches upon the lack of action to address gender imbalance in participation in the upcoming EP elections and political decision-making in general.
“There is no binding provision for the equal representation of women and men in the EU and no uniform system to ensure parity for the European Parliament, where national electoral laws apply,” Angeli continues.
The project’s specific objectives include the promotion of greater awareness and mobilisation support of all relevant stakeholders, including the public at large, for the equal representation of women and men in political decision-making.
Meanwhile, it aims to develop and strengthen the capacity of women’s organisations and NGOs to mobilise support and advocate for parity democracy, encourage voters, particularly women, to be involved in European politics and particularly the European elections of 2014. Finally, the project will evaluate the political parties’ commitment to gender equality in view of this year’s EP elections.
As part of the project’s activities, a European-wide campaign for Parity Democracy was developed and translated in English, French, Czech, Greek and Romanian, while leaflets, video spots, radio spots and banners in all five languages can be found at http://paritydemocracy.eu/campaign-tools-for-parity-democracy/.
In addition, the campaign will develop and strengthen the informal cross-party coalition of women members of the European Parliament promoted by the European Women’s Lobby.
National consultations will be organised with stakeholders that have been identified as key in facilitating the promotion of women in political decision-making including women’s organisations and NGOs, political parties and policy makers, youth organisations, and the media.
National and EU strategies will be developed to promote parity democracy and active European citizenship based on the results of the consultations, while a lobbying kit for women’s organisations and NGOs on parity democracy and active European citizenship will also be developed, published and widely disseminated.
The results of a gender audit of the political programmes and electoral lists for the European elections from a gender equality perspective will also be published and distributed.
Finally, a European Conference on Parity Democracy and Active European Citizenship will tale place in Brussels immediately following the European Parliament elections in order to evaluate and take stock of the outcome of the elections from a gender perspective.
For more information please visit the project website at www.paritydemocracy.eu or contact project coordinator in Cyprus Maria Angeli at angeli.m@medinstgenderstudies.org.
The project is funded by the European Commission Fundamental Rights and Citizenship 2012 programme.


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