Calling for more women in politics!

Calling for more women in politics!

Posted on March 5, 2021

On 8th March 2021, the online conference “for more women in politics” will take place. Members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Members of the European Parliament and participants in the CoR Young Elected Politicians Programme (YEPs) will discuss the issue of gender equality in politics.

According to the Gender Equality Index 2020, the current situation highlights deeper problems regarding gender balance in political institutes, a topic which is deeply discuss in media. As of today, only 5 Member States reached gender equality between the members of European Regional Assemblies. In 20 Member States, women account for one third of total members, while in 3 in Countries the percentage of women is only 20%. In order to tackle this issues regions within Europe decided to adopt the “Strategy for a gender balance in Members’ participation in the CoR“.

Why so few women decide to enter politics? The answer to this question is crucial to break the barriers that keep women away from decision-making positions. One problem is how to keep in touch with electors. 85% of women use social media to engage citizens, but social media platforms can represent a threat to female politicians. Because of the lack of policies regarding this issue, women face death threats, insults and rape menaces. Currently, many campaigns do not have the right strategies in place to face this problem, and the people who writes these threats remain anonymous. All of this contributes to create one of the biggest obstacles for women to enter politics.

Covid-19 has worsen the situation. The large majority of jobs lost to the pandemic, were held by women. In general, women are the most hit and the most exposed category to the risks of the Covid-19 emergency. This pandemic exposed our society systemic problems regarding gender equality. Nurses, in particular, experienced the highest level of stress by being on the forefront of the emergency in the hospitals. They faced incredible amount of pressure, especially in the first months of the pandemic, where they had to work under unsafe and uncertain conditions. Since there is not any representation in politics for nurses, their role was taken for granted. The situation is even more problematic if we think that more than 75% of nurses are women which, in turn, means even less career opportunity and political weight.

Electing women in political offices creates a virtuous circle: the more women in politics, the more young girls will feel empowered to follow their steps. Indeed, role models affect psychological engagement and the motivation of women to run for elections.

In conclusion, it is crucial that nurses play a prominent role both in health and in politics. This issue goes hand in hand with gender equality, which is a pressing topic for all European Countries. The strategies that will be discussed on the 8th of March will be able to advanced the situation and help women in general as well as nurses to move forward.