Political parties are at the core of the functioning of democracy. As a result, their democratic character and compliance with fundamental principles has an impact on the good functioning of democracy itself.
In its Resolution 1899 (2010) on increasing women’s representation in politics through the electoral system, the Parliamentary Assembly analysed the impact of electoral systems on the representation of women in the political process. However, an issue which remains largely unexplored is how the internal functioning of political parties affects the representation of women in politics.
In October 2010, the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR published Guidelines on political party regulation which refer to the need for political parties to ensure gender equality and mentions as possible examples of good practice the introduction of voluntary party quotas, guarantees to ensure a gender-balanced composition of executive structures and clear and transparent rules for the selection of candidates. These guidelines, however, do not provide either for specific examples drawn from the experience of political parties or for an assessment of the measures implemented so far.
Additional areas of concern are the position of women candidates in electoral lists and the equal access to funding during electoral campaigns.
The Assembly should carry out a systematic comparative study on internal policies and guidelines on gender equality applied by political parties in Council of Europe member states, with a view to promoting the exchange of good practice. This work could also contribute to the identification of potential candidates for the next Parliamentary Assembly Equality Prize.