Logo Assembly Logo Hemicycle

Assessing the impact of measures to improve women’s political representation

Doc. 14011: collection of written amendments | Doc. 14011 | 20/04/2016 | Revised version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1The Parliamentary Assembly notes that, in spite of political commitments and legal obligations under international equality and non-discrimination standards, women are still vastly under-represented in politics in most Council of Europe member States. In almost one third of them, the proportion of women among members of parliament does not reach 20%. Such a level hinders the representative nature of elected bodies. It is time to step up efforts. Whenever member States review their regulations governing elections, they should adopt measures to promote the participation of women that are able to have both significant impact and sustainability in the longer term.
2Electoral quotas are the most effective measures to achieve significant, rapid progress, provided that they are correctly designed and consistently implemented. Quotas should be adapted to the electoral system in force, set ambitious targets and be coupled with stringent sanctions for non-compliance.

20 April 2016

Tabled by Mr Johan NISSINEN, Mr Markus WIECHEL, Mr David DAVIES, Mr Jaak MADISON, Sir Roger GALE

If adopted, amendment 6 falls.

Votes: 23 in favor 59 against 3 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 2.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 2, before the words "Electoral quota", insert the word "Binding".

3Accompanying measures are also needed to help women overcome the hurdles they face in accessing and progressing in political life. They include training and awareness-raising activities, media time reserved for women politicians, measures to help reconcile private life and political activities and, last but not least, legislation and other measures in favour of more equal sharing of family responsibilities between women and men.
4Political factors determining women’s participation in public life certainly include the electoral system, political parties and their statutes, candidate selection criteria, positive measures such as quotas, whether legal or voluntary, regulations, and the action of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and associations. The most general factor is the enshrinement in the constitution of the principle of gender equality, subsequently reflected in legislation and in the action of governments and institutions.

20 April 2016

Tabled by Mr Johan NISSINEN, Mr Markus WIECHEL, Mr David DAVIES, Mr Jaak MADISON, Sir Roger GALE

Votes: 18 in favor 72 against 5 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4, delete the words: "positive measures such as quotas, whether legal or voluntary,"

In amendment 2, delete the words "positive measures" and the words "whether legal or voluntary".

5Relevant social factors are the welfare system, parental leave schemes, the sharing of care and household duties, measures to balance work and family life and pension schemes.
6Among the economic factors, the gender pay gap and access to professions and careers is particularly relevant, as is the financing of small businesses.
7Cultural factors determine the actual possibility for women to participate both in political life and in the economic and social development of a country. Education and training are crucial, as they are a precondition for acquiring the necessary skills and for eradicating the stereotypes which still prevent the achievement of full and real parity. These stereotypes are often related to a vision of women as part of the household context with a merely parental role.
8For women who are active in politics, access to media, representation and media space allocated during electoral campaigns are crucial elements, as is campaign funding.
9These elements should not be considered separately, as they are in fact closely intertwined. The right approach to adopt in order to achieve full gender equality in political life is a global, holistic one, encompassing quantitative and qualitative measures with a gender perspective in all areas of society.
10Progress in the field of women’s political representation has been achieved, in particular by means of reforms introducing equal constitutional rights such as the right to vote and to be elected, the right of access to public office and other fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the right to property, inheritance, marriage, citizenship, etc. These constitutional rights are aimed at removing discrimination on grounds of sex or any other discrimination limiting equal citizenship. Provisions on political and civil rights for women in the various constitutions pave the way for gender equality and for equal citizenship and are the foundation for more specific action for equality.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 10, replace the word "sex" with the word "gender".

In the draft resolution, paragraph 10, in the last sentence, replace the words "pave the way" with the following words: "are essential".

11The electoral system has an impact on women’s political representation. Even if quotas are not applied, the various electoral systems will in themselves work differently when it comes to the representation of women. Systems that are entirely or partially based on proportional representation appear to be more effective in promoting the election of female candidates than plurality/majority systems based entirely on single-member constituencies.
12The Assembly reiterates that political parties have a crucial role to play in improving women’s political representation. As the main stakeholders in charge of submitting electoral lists and supporting the candidates, political parties are gatekeepers to elected positions and their choices determine to a large extent the final outcome of the elections as concerns gender-balanced representation.
13The media are also key players in determining the visibility of candidates and the general image of women. They should avoid perpetuating gender stereotypes which are a barrier to the access of women to political life. They should also guarantee fair and proportionate airtime to political candidates irrespective of their gender.

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 13, replace the words "irrespective of their gender" with the following words: "based on gender quotas".

14The Assembly underlines the importance of the gender dimension in election observation missions. The Assembly is committed to promoting this dimension with its international partner organisations in the framework of election observation missions both concerning the composition of missions, which should be gender balanced, and the observation reports which should systematically include a specific focus on women’s participation in all stages of the electoral process.  
15In the light of these considerations, the Assembly calls on the Council of Europe member and observer States, as well as partners for democracy, to spare no effort to increase women’s political representation. They should, in particular:

In the draft resolution, paragraph 15, before the words "They should, in particular", insert the following words: "Recognising the positive effect of the implementation of parity,"

15.1consider introducing the principle of parity into their Constitution or into their electoral legislation;

20 April 2016

Tabled by Mr Johan NISSINEN, Mr Markus WIECHEL, Mr David DAVIES, Mr Jaak MADISON, Sir Roger GALE

Votes: 25 in favor 69 against 9 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 15.1.

15.2with regard to quotas and other positive measures:

20 April 2016

Tabled by Mr Johan NISSINEN, Mr Markus WIECHEL, Mr David DAVIES, Mr Jaak MADISON, Sir Roger GALE

If adopted, amendments 10, 14, 11, 15 falls.

Votes: 17 in favor 80 against 9 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 15.2.

In amendment 4, replace the words "paragraph 15.2" with the words "paragraphs 15.2.1, 15.2.2 and 15.2.3."

15.2.1include, if possible, in the legislation on the functioning of political parties regulations on the nomination of candidates aimed at ensuring equal gender representation; such regulations should respect the principle of proportionality and be the least burdensome to political parties’ autonomy;

20 April 2016

Tabled by Ms Gisela WURM, Mr Pierre-Yves LE BORGN', Ms Ingrid ANTIČEVIĆ MARINOVIĆ, Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER, Ms Petra De SUTTER, Ms Maryvonne BLONDIN

Falls if amendment 4 is adopted.

Votes: 85 in favor 11 against 15 abstentions

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 15.2.1 with the following paragraph:

"include in the legislation on the functioning of political parties regulations on the nomination of candidates aimed at ensuring equal gender representation;"

15.2.2introduce applicable sanctions for non-compliance with positive measures, such as rejection of lists of candidates; ensure that independent bodies such as electoral courts or commissions supervise the implementation of quotas and other positive measures and apply sanctions; allocate adequate financial and human resources to ensure the good functioning of relevant bodies;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 15.2.2, after the word "introduce", replace the word "applicable" with the word "effective".

15.2.3attempt to introduce electoral legislation based on strict placement mandates or duos of paired candidates of the opposite sex;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 15.2.3, replace the word "sex" with the word "gender".

15.2.4regularly monitor the impact of the implementation of quotas and other positive measures aimed at increasing the political representation of women and propose relevant recommendations;
15.2.5encourage political parties to ensure transparency in procedures for the selection of candidates and enhance women's representation through gender-balanced candidate nomination boards and internal decision-making bodies at all levels;
15.2.6encourage political parties to enhance women's participation, including through women's associations, capacity-building efforts and mechanisms to support women in campaign financing;

20 April 2016

Tabled by Ms Françoise HETTO-GAASCH, Ms Carina OHLSSON, Ms Guguli MAGRADZE, Ms Pascale CROZON, Ms Mechthild RAWERT

Falls if amendment 4 is adopted.

Votes: 93 in favor 6 against 12 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 15.2.6, after the words "including through women's", insert the following words: "and men's".

15.3With regard to accompanying measures:
15.3.1encourage parliaments and other elected bodies to adopt measures to reconcile their activities with the private life of members, such as compatible session and voting times, and childcare services;
15.3.2promote training and awareness-raising activities on gender equality targeting politicians irrespective of their gender; encourage political parties and other organisations to provide training for women politicians;
15.3.3consider introducing incentives to increase awareness of women in politics among the media, both quantitatively and qualitatively, to ensure fair coverage of women in politics in the media;
15.3.4ensure that part of the public funding of political parties, when applicable, is reserved for activities aimed at promoting women’s participation and political representation and ensure transparency in the use of the funds;
15.4with regard to electoral management and observation:
15.4.1ensure that electoral commissions apply provisions on gender equality in the electoral process and involve them in the legislative process when reviewing electoral legislation;

20 April 2016

Tabled by Mr Johan NISSINEN, Mr Markus WIECHEL, Mr David DAVIES, Mr Jaak MADISON, Sir Roger GALE

Votes: 21 in favor 87 against 5 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 15.4.1.

15.4.2strengthen co-operation with international election observation missions as regards the participation of women in the electoral process and provide them with comprehensive information and gender-disaggregated data;
15.5with regard to research and data collection:
15.5.1promote research and data collection on women’s participation in political life at national, regional and local level;
15.5.2promote the collection of gender-disaggregated statistical data by electoral management bodies and relevant administrations;
15.5.3regularly assess the impact of national legislation and policies aimed at increasing women’s political participation and, when needed, propose the relevant amendments;
15.5.4collect, by means of surveys and research, data on the way in which men and women vote in order to identify, analyse and assess how men and women support candidates of their own sex;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 15.5.4, replace the word "sex" with the word "gender".

15.6with regard to civil society:
15.6.1recognise the role of civil society and involve NGOs in designing, promoting and monitoring measures to increase women’s political representation, particularly as concerns awareness-raising campaigns, training activities and monitoring of the implementation of measures;
15.6.2encourage and support NGOs involved in the area of elections to monitor and report on women's participation in the electoral processes.
16The Assembly supports the principle of gender parity, which would represent a further step beyond positive measures and the ultimate goal in political representation. Consistent enforcement of such a principle requires the State to go beyond positive measures and ensure equal representation of women and men in elected bodies and other institutions at all levels.