The Parliamentary Assembly has repeatedly called on Council of Europe member States to improve the representation of women in political life as a means to achieve genuine democracy. Achieving gender-balanced participation in political life requires all stakeholders to co-operate. Legislation may establish mandatory quotas reserved for women, “zipper” electoral lists in which female and male candidates are placed alternately, or even women’s lists. Political parties have also a specific role to play. In its Resolution 1898 (2012), the Assembly recommended to political parties a series of measures aiming at increasing women’s representation in political life, for example by ensuring that the party structures which select candidates to stand for elections include women or by setting up women-only structures within the party.
In the last two decades, a wide range of measures have been introduced to enhance women’s political representation but equality is still an objective to achieve.
The Assembly should evaluate the measures introduced by different stakeholders, including the authorities, at different levels, and political parties. This evaluation should be both quantitative, and gather information on the proportion of women in various political representative and decision-making institutions, and qualitative, clarifying whether women are present in key positions as opposed to playing secondary roles. On the basis of a thorough analysis of the actual impact of measures and practices introduced so far, the Assembly should identify best practices to be recommended.