Press release - 155(2007)

Local and regional authorities are the first line of defence of women’s rights

Statement by the Congress President

Strasbourg, 08.03.2007 – “Leaders of our territorial communities, local and regional authorities across Europe have an important responsibility for improving the situation of women on our continent and advancing their role in public and political life,” stressed today Halvdan Skard, President of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

“It is clear that there have been positive developments over recent years regarding the position of women at the territorial level in the political, economic and social fields. We have more women mayors and governors, and more women municipal or regional councillors. Women are also better represented in the Congress and our partner organisations.

However, much remains to be done. Although there has been improvement, the participation of women has not yet achieved the desired level, and there is obvious imparity and discrimination in the economic and social fields. In this context, the Congress is actively involved in the Council of Europe campaigns aimed at improving the situation of women, such as campaigns against domestic violence and against trafficking in human beings. Our cities and regions must take an active stand against these scourges which are blighting our societies, not least because local and regional authorities are the first to suffer from their repercussions, and are also the first line of defence of women’s rights.

International Women’s Day is the proper occasion to look at the situation of women in Europe and elsewhere in the world, to join our forces as government officials, parliamentarians, local and regional representatives, for the cause of improving it, and to renew our commitment to building a Europe of full gender equality,” said President Skard.

Communication Unit of the Congress
of Local and Regional Authorities
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