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The political parties that were looked at for the study, in the main, do not take action to increase the number of women. In Azerbaijan and Moldova some parties had policies on women’s issues; in other countries surveyed there were no specific policies on women’s issues such as violence against women. Women were not very visible in the media speaking on behalf of political parties. Several parties have introduced voluntary 30% quotas for women candidates. However, as these were the smaller parties they have not had a significant effect on the percentage of seats held by women. These are not enforced at local level. In Georgia the financial incentive given to political parties who meet a 30% threshold of women candidates has not led to an increase in women elected, as the policy has only been adopted by the smaller parties who are unlikely to be successful in elections. Clear and transparent mechanisms to select party candidates would help reduce the dependence on women having to get known within the party in order to be asked to stand. Women candidates and those elected had higher educational qualifications. There are low levels of women elected at legislative level in all the study countries. Information on the age, declared income, profession or ethnicity of candidates was not available. When elected, women are unlikely to hold the chairs of commissions or committees: 3 out of 6 in Moldova; 7 out of 12 in Ukraine; 1 out of 4 in Georgia; 2 out of 11 in Belarus. No information was available on the remit of the committees/commissions chaired by women. Lack of finance to get selected and to finance a campaign is a major barrier for women’s political representation.

C | LEGAL FRAMEWORK — International obligations All the study countries have either signed, or have agreed to be legally bound by, the terms of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)46 by doing so they have undertaken, under Article 2, to include the principle of equality of women and men in their national constitutions and to ensure the practical realisation of the principle by laws and other means. The signatories are required to make regular reports on their progress on achieving equality for women to the UN committee. These reports are a useful mechanism for NGOs to highlight and raise the issues of lack of progress on action to increase the number of women elected representatives and to follow up progress in relation to recommendations made by the committee. Table 25: UN CEDAW Convention signatories47 Country



13 September 1993


10 July 1995


4 February 1981


26 October 1994


1 July 1994


12 March 1981

Five of the countries are members of the Council of Europe and are signatories of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols (ECHR)48. Article 14 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex in relation to all the rights covered. Article 3 Protocol 1 includes the right to free elections. Protocol 12 covers the general prohibition of discrimination in relation to laws and that no one should be discriminated against because of their sex by a public authority. The exception is Belarus. All of the countries have signed or agreed to be bound by the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights49 that commits signatories to undertake to ensure the equal right of women and men to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights outlined in the covenant. These include: -> The right and opportunity to take part in public affairs -> The right to vote and to be elected This means that there is a solid legal basis from international standards for all states to ensure the equal rights for women to vote, to be candidates and to be elected.

National legislation Each state has a national legal framework that guarantees equal rights for women and men.

46 - 47 - 48 - Available at: 49 - Available at:


Women’s political representation in the Eastern Partnership countries

Findings of the study


Women's Political Representation in the Eastern Partnership Countries  

Council of Europe regional study. Published 15 December 2016.