Wednesday, 30 September 2009

'Parity in politics is still a long way off,' says PACE President

30 September 2009 -- “Balanced participation in politics by women and men is vital if democracy and society are to function more smoothly, and political parties have a key role to play here,” said Lluís Maria de Puig, President of the Assembly, at the award ceremony for the PACE’s 2009 Gender Equality Prize. “However, parity is still a long way off,” he added. “As far as the Assembly is concerned, there was only one woman when it was set up and now only 27% of its members are women.”

The Portuguese Socialist Party, the first winner of the prize, was represented by José Vera Jardim, Chair of the Portuguese delegation to the PACE, whom the President presented with a trophy by artist Ewa Rossano and a diploma.

According to the jury, the Portuguese Socialist Party has stood out in this area by adopting internal quotas as far back as 1995 and then passing a parity law requiring a minimum of 33% of candidates from the under-represented sex on party lists for European, parliamentary and municipal elections. The second and third prize-winners, respectively the UK Labour Party and the Swedish Left Party, each received a diploma.

“I hope the prize will encourage other political parties to take practical steps in order significantly to improve women’s participation in politics,” said Mr de Puig in conclusion.