C Explanatory memorandum by Ms Elena
Centemero, rapporteur for opinion
1 It is the first time that a challenge of credentials
based on the absence of a woman as representative in a national
delegation has been referred to the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.
No other case requiring referral for opinion to the committee has
arisen since this possibility was introduced in 2014 in the Rules
of Procedure (Rule 7.2).
2 Gender equality is a requirement for all democratic societies.
Achieving gender equality in all spheres of public and private life
is one of the goals of the Council of Europe, and the Parliamentary
Assembly has contributed to it through the adoption of numerous
resolutions and recommendations. Since 1996, the Assembly has also
adopted several resolutions aimed at ensuring better gender balance
in its own functioning. A key measure in this respect was the introduction
in 2003 in the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of Rule 6.2.a, which imposes the presence of
at least one woman parliamentarian in the composition of national delegations
to the Assembly. This measure was modified in 2010 to oblige national
delegations to appoint, as representative, at least one person of
the under-represented sex.
The statistics published every year since 2012 show that the
level of representation of women as members of the Assembly has
progressively improved, reaching 39% in 2016. It is worth noting
that in 2016 women represented 41% of the Assembly’s representatives
and 38% of the substitutes. This constitutes a significant achievement
of the Assembly, which set an objective of 40% representation of
women in its Resolution
on gender equality principles in the Parliamentary Assembly.
The committee considers that a step further would be to set gender
parity as a new objective and it recalls that the Assembly expressed its
support for this principle in Resolution
“Assessing the impact of measures to improve women’s political
representation”. The committee notes with satisfaction that in December
2016, eight national delegations already had full parity.Note