he research has provided quantitative and qualitative information about the situation of women in the EaP countries and how this impacts on their opportunities to stand as candidates and to be elected at national, regional and local levels.
Each of the countries included in the study has legislation guaranteeing women equal rights with those of men, however, women do not have equal political representation. On average across the study countries, 23% of women are candidates for election to parliaments and 16% of those are elected. This varies from 30% of the candidates in Moldova to 18% of the candidates in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Of those elected to parliament in Belarus, 27% are women but in Armenia only 10% are women. There are many similarities across all the countries and despite their different political realities and challenges there is common ground in the desire to seek ways to increase the political representation of women. The study has confirmed the substantial barriers limiting women’s political involvement. The major barrier highlighted by all of the researchers and 21 out of the 53 interviewees in all the study countries are the deeply ingrained cultural stereotypes, attitudes, values, norms and prejudices about the position of women in society. The belief is that women’s main role is to be at home looking after the family and that they are not as capable of taking decisions or running organisations as men. These attitudes towards women are reflected most starkly in the attitudes towards violence against women. Even where legislation exists, as it does in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova, the number of cases reported to the authorities and the number of prosecutions remains low in relation to those reported to NGOs. For example, it is estimated that one in every three women in Belarus has suffered from physical abuse. Women are also disadvantaged economically. On average 52% of women and 65% of men participate in the labour market. Women have lower incomes. On average across the study countries they have 59% of the income of men. Women do hold managerial roles – Belarus and Moldova are in the top 10 out of 128 countries surveyed by the ILO, however they suffer from job segregation, working mainly in low-paid sectors such as hotel and catering, retail, education and health and social care. This is despite
Women’s political representation in the Eastern Partnership countries
Council of Europe regional study. Published 15 December 2016.