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Promoting parliaments free of sexism and sexual harassment

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 14810 | 22 January 2019

Ms Thorhildur Sunna ÆVARSDÓTTIR, Iceland, SOC ; Ms Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Ms Vida AČIENĖ, Lithuania, EC ; Lord Donald ANDERSON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Radovan BALÁŽ, Slovak Republic, EC ; Lord Richard BALFE, United Kingdom, EC ; Ms Petra BAYR, Austria, SOC ; Ms Erika BENKŐ, Romania, EPP/CD ; Mr Goran BEUS RICHEMBERGH, Croatia, ALDE ; Ms Maryvonne BLONDIN, France, SOC ; Ms Maria Elena BOSCHI, Italy, SOC ; Mr Milan BRGLEZ, Slovenia, SOC ; Ms Rósa Björk BRYNJÓLFSDÓTTIR, Iceland, UEL ; Ms Doris BURES, Austria, SOC ; Mr Ahmet Ünal ÇEVİKÖZ, Turkey, SOC ; Ms Tamar CHUGOSHVILI, Georgia, SOC ; Mr Titus CORLĂŢEAN, Romania, SOC ; Mr Alexandru Răzvan CUC, Romania, NR ; Mr Adnan DIBRANI, Sweden, SOC ; Mr Yunus EMRE, Turkey, SOC ; Ms Edite ESTRELA, Portugal, SOC ; Ms Béatrice FRESKO-ROLFO, Monaco, ALDE ; Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Paul GAVAN, Ireland, UEL ; Ms Miren Edurne GORROTXATEGUI, Spain, UEL ; Mr Fabien GOUTTEFARDE, France, NR ; Mr Martin GRAF, Austria, NR ; Mr Antonio GUTIÉRREZ, Spain, SOC ; Mr Sabir HAJIYEV, Azerbaijan, SOC ; Mr Thomas HAMMARBERG, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Gabriela HEINRICH, Germany, SOC ; Mr Andrej HUNKO, Germany, UEL ; Mr Ervin IBRAHIMOVIĆ, Montenegro, EPP/CD ; Mr Momodou Malcolm JALLOW, Sweden, UEL ; Mr Mogens JENSEN, Denmark, SOC ; Ms Gyde JENSEN, Germany, ALDE ; Mr Danail KIRILOV, Bulgaria, EPP/CD ; Ms Elvira KOVÁCS, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Jérôme LAMBERT, France, SOC ; Mr George LOUCAIDES, Cyprus, UEL ; Mr Dirk Van der MAELEN, Belgium, SOC ; Ms Marianne MIKKO, Estonia, SOC ; Mr Ola MÖLLER, Sweden, SOC ; Mr William MOORLAG, Netherlands, SOC ; Mr Ian MURRAY, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Víctor NAUDI ZAMORA, Andorra, SOC ; Mr Marco NICOLINI, San Marino, UEL ; Ms Carina OHLSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Ria OOMEN-RUIJTEN, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Ms Josephine ORTLEB, Germany, SOC ; Mr Henk OVERBEEK, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Hişyar ÖZSOY, Turkey, UEL ; Ms Biljana PANTIĆ PILJA, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Mr Paulo PISCO, Portugal, SOC ; Mr Aleksander POCIEJ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Ms Azadeh ROJHAN GUSTAFSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Ulla SANDBÆK, Denmark, UEL ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Mr Frithjof SCHMIDT, Germany, SOC ; Mr Frank SCHWABE, Germany, SOC ; Mr Samad SEYIDOV, Azerbaijan, EC ; Mr Tommy SHEPPARD, United Kingdom, NR ; Ms Angela SMITH, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Olena SOTNYK, Ukraine, ALDE ; Ms Petra STIENEN, Netherlands, ALDE ; Mr Damien THIÉRY, Belgium, ALDE ; Ms Violeta TOMIĆ, Slovenia, UEL ; Mr Manuel TORNARE, Switzerland, SOC ; Lord Don TOUHIG, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Feleknas UCA, Turkey, UEL ; Mr Martin WHITFIELD, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Leonid YEMETS, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Mustafa YENEROĞLU, Turkey, FDG

#MeToo has become a global movement which has encouraged millions of women to speak up about the verbal and physical violence they are subjected to. Politics is no exception.

A 2018 study by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Parliamentary Assembly has revealed that alarming levels of sexism, harassment and violence against women are widespread in the parliaments of Council of Europe member States:

  • more than 85 per cent of female MPs who took part in the study have faced psychological violence during their terms in office;
  • nearly 68 per cent have received remarks about their physical appearance;
  • 24.7 per cent of female MPs and 40.5 per cent of female parliamentary staff have suffered sexual harassment.

Furthermore, the study has identified under-reporting and the limited availability of internal mechanisms to deal with sexual harassment as major problems.

The study has been brought to the attention of the Presidents of parliament of Council of Europe member States, in a joint letter by the Presidents of the two institutions, together with the request to take the necessary measures to address its recommendations. Being aware of the importance of bringing about a cultural shift, the President of the Assembly has also launched the #NotInMyParliament Initiative.

The Assembly should prepare a report to ensure a concrete follow-up to the joint study, identifying effective practices which national parliaments should introduce in order to prevent and tackle sexism and sexual harassment. The Assembly should also discuss how to guarantee a safe working environment for parliamentarians and staff by leading the way in reforming its own code of conduct to explicitly tackle sexism and harassment.

Addressing this matter is of great importance for the effectiveness of any parliamentary institution, its image and its ability to set a model in promoting gender equality.