At OSCE gender conference, parliamentarians note progress made, challenges remaining

2014-GERC-Cederfelt-Comic-DadeLeft to right: OSCE parliamentarians Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden), Gordana Comic (Serbia) and Arta Dade (Albania) at the OSCE's Gender Equality Review Conference on 11 July. COPENHAGEN, 11 July 2014 – Senior OSCE parliamentarians have addressed the OSCE’s Gender Equality Review Conference in Vienna, discussing the progress made and the challenges that remain in closing the gender gap within the Organization, the OSCE area and their respective countries.

The two-day conference, held at OSCE headquarters, marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, the organization’s key document on the subject.

Addressing participants on 10 July, Margareta Cederfelt, a member of Sweden’s Delegation to the OSCE PA, highlighted the Parliamentary Assembly’s leadership within the Organization on gender balance issues.

Following elections held during the PA’s 23rd Annual Session in Baku last week, more than half of Assembly’s Bureau members are women, Cederfelt noted.

Women now occupy seven of nine leadership positions in the OSCE PA’s three General Committees, including all three chairperson positions -- a first for the Parliamentary Assembly.

Cederfelt also highlighted recommendations and pronouncements regarding gender equality and women’s empowerment contained in the OSCE PA’s 2014 Baku Declaration, approved by parliamentarians from across the OSCE area at the PA’s recent Annual Session.

The Declaration “stresses the need to step up efforts, at the level of participating States and the OSCE, to effectively address persisting violence and discrimination against women across the OSCE area and further promote women’s participation in political and public life and decision-making.”

It also “urges participating States to ensure the legal recognition of women’s property rights” and calls for measures to achieve full involvement for women “in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.”

Cederfelt also questioned the usefulness of quotas, arguing that changed attitudes towards women and gender in societies is what is needed to achieve true parity.

Speaking on 11 July, Arta Dade, the Head of Albania’s Delegation to the OSCE PA, presented a case study of gender balance issues in her home country.

While the percentage of female MPs in the Albanian Parliament has recently jumped from under seven percent to nearly 20 percent, the legal requirement of 30 percent female representation remains elusive, she said.

Dade also reviewed efforts undertaken to promote gender balance in Albania, including the establishment of contact points for gender issues across the country.  However, the small number of female mayors is a sign of the challenges that remain, she added.

Gordana Comic, a member of Serbia’s Delegation to the OSCE PA and Rapporteur of Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, stressed that political parties can play a key role in promoting female participation in the legislative sphere.

She urged OSCE participating States and their politicians to promote gender dialogue not only within government, but at the levels of party and grassroots politics.

For the OSCE PA’s 2014 Gender Balance Report, click here.

For more information on the OSCE’s Gender Equality Review Conference, click here



Нэт Пэрри

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