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Balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process

The European Union defines measures aimed at promoting the participation of women in the decision-making process in both the public and the private sectors.

ACT

Council Recommendation of 2 December 1996 on the balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process.

SUMMARY

The Council recommends that the Member States adopt a comprehensive, integrated strategy designed to promote the balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process, and to develop or introduce to this end the appropriate legislative, regulatory or incentive measures.

The Council recommends that the Member States:

  • alert all those involved in education and training to the importance of an image of women's role in society which is free of prejudice and discriminatory stereotypes, a more balanced sharing of professional, domestic and social responsibilities between women and men and more balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process;
  • encourage girls and women to take part and express themselves in education and training activities as actively and fully as boys and men;
  • encourage and support efforts of associations and organisations to promote women's access to the decision-making process;
  • encourage and support the efforts of the social partners to promote balanced participation of women and men in their activities;
  • devise, launch and promote public campaigns to alert public opinion to the usefulness and advantages for society as a whole of balanced participation by women and men in decision-making.

The Council recommends that the Member States:

  • promote or improve the collection and publication of statistics to provide a picture of how women and men are represented at all levels of the decision-making process;
  • support, develop and encourage quantitative and qualitative studies on the legal, social or cultural obstacles impeding access to the decision-making process for persons of either sex;
  • support and encourage initiatives creating examples of good practice in the various areas of the decision-making process.

The Council recommends that the Member States:

  • promote more balanced participation by women and men at all levels in government;
  • provide for, implement or develop a coherent set of measures encouraging equal opportunities in the public sector;
  • encourage the private sector to increase the presence of women at all levels of decision-making, notably by the adoption of equality plans and positive action programmes.

The Council calls on the Commission:

  • to encourage and organise, within the framework of the medium-term Community action programme on equal opportunities for men and women (1996-2000), systematic pooling of experience and assessment of the policies pursued in order to achieve a better balance between women and men in the decision-making process;
  • to step up its efforts to provide information, alert public opinion, encourage research and promote schemes aimed at achieving balanced participation by women and men in the decision-making process;
  • within three years from adoption of this Recommendation, to submit a report to the Council on its implementation, on the basis of information provided by the Member States.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Recommendation of 02.12.1996--Official Journal L 319 of 10.12.1996

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission to the Council on the implementation of Council recommendation 96/694/EC of 2nd December 1996 on the balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process [COM(2000) 120 - Not published in the Official Journal]

This Commission report fulfils the obligation set by Recommendation 96/694/EC to submit a report on its implementation three years after its adoption. Despite various efforts and results in the different Member States and the European institutions, there has been no significant change to the situation of women being under-represented in decision-making posts. While the European institutions have given special attention to recruitment and promotion policies, the gender balance has not been met either in the committees or in bodies at all levels in the Member States.

The balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process is an essential requirement of democracy and a positive step for society, as decisions then take into account the needs and interests of the population as a whole.

The Commission recommends the adoption of a long-term global strategy and highlights the need to raise awareness in the private sector, a sector which requires particular attention and perhaps a different approach. Data collection also needs to be improved in order to ensure regular monitoring. Finally, a new measure should be agreed upon.

 
Last updated: 28.06.2006

See also

For more information please consult the European Commission website on women and men in decision-making

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