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NEW REALITIES CONCERNING EUROPEAN
LEFT WING GENDER EQUALITY POLITICS
CASE STUDY OF WOMEN IN LEFT WING PARLIAMENTARY PARTIES IN THE SOUTH
EASTERN EUROPEAN REGION
There is a common belief, that
labor, socialist and SD parties and their women’s organizations are the champions
of gender equality efforts in their countries.
There are some signs indicating that this is not any more the case everywhere
in traditional democratic European societies with strong SD parties– for
example in Germany, conservative party, and not the SD gave the first woman chancellor and
conservative woman minister for gender
equality is implementing social democratic family policy with more vigor than
SD party’s ones did it when the SDP was in power. Comparing the average
situation and potential for action of women in all important parliamentary
parties in 10 countries of the SEE with the
situation and potential for action of the women in the left oriented parties in
the same region, we would like to investigate, what is happening there with regard
party politics on gender equality and we would like to open the debate do our
SD parties need to do serious changes in their approach to gender equality and
how they should go about these changes.
In 2006 Stability Pact Gender
Task Force, in close cooperation with the CEE Network for Gender Issues,
implemented its second regional project on empowerment of women and gender
mainstreaming in 64 that parliamentary parties of different political
orientation – left, conservative and liberal, in 10 countries of the South
Eastern Europe: Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro,
Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria and in Moldova. 21 parties who have
already established some sort of membership within the SI or the PES, or who
think about themselves being of social democratic orientation, were also
included in this project.
Here are the main findings regarding the
overall situation of women in 62 parliamentary parties in South
parliamentary party women organizations in the SEE
region came into being due to the regionally organized international
support coming for the parties of the left wing orientation from SIW and
the CEE Network for Gender Issues from 1994, and for the rest of political
parties from the Stability Pact Gender Task Force from 1999. Their
capacity building is still crucially dependent on different sorts of
parliamentary party women’s organizations still have extremely weak
organizational capacity. Not one of them has a professional organizer,
working especially and only for their women’s organization!
is no systematic focus and work of these parties with their women party
members, women activists and lower level of women party functionaries
(mayors, councilors), and there are still very few parties willing or able
to target women voters.
of these women party organizations are closed in their ghettos, penniless,
politically insignificant for their parties and invisible for their
ability to serve the needs of women voters is still very low. But they
start to get the right focus on what should be done.
was the second project of this kind in these parties. The positive change,
made from 2002 to 2006 from the first to the second project, especially in
the centre and right wing parties, is incredible! The glass is half full
and can be filled – all one needs to do, is to work on it!
The data we present bellow, are
made at the bases of the SP GTF project report, where Ziva Zivkovic, our assistant
in the Ljubljana Office of the CEE Network for Gender Issues and me, we made a
detailed comparison between the overall situation of women in parliamentary
political parties and the parties of social democratic, socialist or labor
orientation in this region.
The main tool for our analysis
was the questionnaire that I have prepared for the SP GTF regional project and
which was given to all women party leaders in order to get detailed insight in
the power position of women in different political parties.
It became clear that even
collecting the data from the parliamentary
parties about their women, even combined with direct communication with the
party leaders and the leaders of the
women’s organizations within the parties and specific training sessions, was a
really difficult task.
The first test of the organizational and political (in)
capacity of women within the parliamentary parties was their (in) ability to
answer to the questions in the questionnaire.
12 % (8 out of 64) of all parties included in this project
never handed out any answers to the questionnaire. One of them (close to 5% of
all left wing parties included in the sample) was between these 8 parties:
newly established New SD Party of Macedonia. The rest of the participating
parliamentary parties – 56 of them, tried their best to answer at least to some
of the questions.
In the tables below (in
ATTACHED Full Document), we illustrate the differences regarding the state of
art of the women and the capacities of political parties to deal with gender
equality issues, comparing the average outcomes within all 54 parliamentary
parties which gave at least one answer to our questionnaire and the average
outcomes within 20 labor, socialist and SD parties in the SEE
FULL DOCUMENT, INCLUDING TABLES AND
CONCLUSIONS, IS ATTACHED.