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Warsaw - a city of equality

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Panoramic view of Warsaw, Palace of Culture and Science

Equality between men and women as a right implemented by local governments in all spheres - this is the main principle of the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life signed today by the Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski. The document obliges European local governments to eliminate stereotypes and obstacles that contribute to the unequal evaluation of roles of men and women in political, economic, social and cultural life.

Warsaw is an open city. It is a city of equality, tolerance and respect. That is why I have signed the European Charter for Equality of Men and Women in Local Life. In doing so, we are joining over 1800 local and regional governments from 36 European countries. We are working together for gender equality in all areas: politics, social and economic life. Because Warsaw is for everyone, says Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw.

Warsaw is consistently implementing its programme for combating discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities, its programme for supporting development and ensuring safety, as well as the equal access to health care and education for women. Numerous commitments of the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life have already been implemented in the capital city, such as the establishment of the Warsaw Council for Women, cooperation with non-governmental organisations dealing with women's rights, facilitations for parents related to child care during working hours, and solutions aimed at counteracting gender-based violence, emphasises Aldona Machnowska-Góra, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw and Mayor’s Plenipotentiary for Women.

Warsaw is the sixth city in Poland to have approved the Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life. Its signing by the Mayor of Warsaw was preceded by a Resolution of the Warsaw City Council of 15 April this year expressing support for the initiative.

The European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life is not only an expression of local authorities' commitment to the promotion of the principle of equality between men and women, but also a declaration of the implementation of obligations arising from the document in their own areas. These include, inter alia, the fight against prejudice, practices, including the use of language and images which are based on the idea of the superiority of one of the genders or stereotypical roles of men and women, and the evaluation of the implementation of gender equality policies. The six basic principles of the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life are as follows:

  • Equality of women and men constitutes a fundamental right;
  • To ensure the equality of women and men, multiple discrimination and disadvantage must be
    addressed;
  • The balanced participation of women and men in decision making is a pre-requisite of a democratic society;
  • The elimination of gender stereotypes is fundamental to achieving equality of women and men;
  • Integrating the gender perspective into all activities of local and regional government is
  • necessary to advance equality of women and men;
  • Properly resourced action plans and programmes are necessary tools to advance equality of women and men.

To implement these principles, each signatory undertakes to develop, within two years, an Equality Action Plan which sets out the priorities, actions and resources designated for doing so. In addition, each local authority which adopts the Charter undertakes to involve all institutions and organisations in its area to promote real equality in practice.

The European Charter for Equality of Men and Women in Local Life was developed in 2006 as part of a project delivered by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions. The organisation is the oldest and largest European association of local and regional governments. It currently brings together national associations of local and regional authorities from 41 European countries, and, through their participation, represents all territorial levels - local, intermediate and regional ones.

Since its foundation in 1951, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions has promoted the development of a united, peaceful and democratic Europe based on local home-rule, respect for the principle of subsidiarity and citizen participation. To achieve this goal, it seeks to shape the future of Europe by encouraging local and regional units to influence European laws and policies and to exchange experience at local and regional levels.