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Frontpage News 2009 Promoting gender equality in the Czech Republic

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Promoting gender equality in the Czech Republic

With support from the EEA and Norway Grants, a conference on the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life was held in Prague on September 24.

The conference was held to introduce the Charter to the Czech audience, and to highlight that gender equality and equal participation of women and men in public life is a fundamental prerequisite of a democratic society. In the Czech Republic, women constitute only about 17 % of the political leadership.

Forum 50 %, an NGO focusing on achieving the equal participation of women and men at all levels of public life, organised the conference. It received support from the EEA and Norway Grants through the Czech Technical Assistance Fund, as part of a wider project to raise consciousness and put gender equality issues higher on the political agenda. Around 50 people attended the conference, including representatives from Czech local and regional governments, the Ministry of the Interior, universities, as well as NGOs and international organisations.

The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) is involved as a partner in the project. In August, 8 representatives from Czech local governments participated in a workshop held by KS in Oslo to exchange knowledge and experience within the field of promoting equal opportunities. KS has long experience in helping local and regional authorities implement measures and legislation relating to equal opportunities. Norway ranks among the highest in Europe when it comes to equal participation of women and men in politics and public life.

The European Charter for Equality of Women and Men was launched by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) in 2006, and sets down a number of basic principles to encourage local and regional governments in Europe to commit themselves to achieving the equal participation of women and men at all levels of public life and decision making. As of September 2009, the charter has 903 signatories all over Europe. However, in the Czech Republic, only the village of Stankovice, with a total of 30 inhabitants, has signed the Charter. By organising this conference, Forum 50 % hopes to kick-started its adoption in more Czech municipalities.

The text of the Charter is available in several languages.

Picture credit: Council of European Municipalities and Regions.