The Observatory

European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life

Back in 2004, CEMR initiated an ambitious project: the elaboration of a portrait of a virtual town in which gender equality is fully achieved—The Virtual Town for Equality.

To follow-up the Virtual Town for Equality project and to encourage mayors and councillors to make it a reality, CEMR and its national associations drafted the European Charter for Equality in 2006. The Charter is both a political document and a practical instrument. It reconciles different visions of equality from all over Europe. Moreover, it proposes concrete methods by which equality of women and men can be pursued in different fields of local and regional competences, such as: political participation, employment, public services, urban planning, etc. 

Today it counts around 1,700 signatories in 34 European countries. It has been translated into 28 languages thanks to the support of CEMR member associations.

To measure the implementation of the Charter across Europe, CEMR carried out a pilot project from 2013-2015 to develop monitoring indicators. The resulting Toolkit of indicators is available in 22 languages and covers several transversal elements (data, training, etc.) and all 30 articles of the Charter. Comprehensive, flexible, and free to use, the Toolkit is an additional instrument to support local and regional governments in gaining a better understanding of which priority areas to focus on and evaluating the impact of their equality initiatives.

CEMR is grateful for the support it has received from the European Commission and the European Parliament for its work on gender equality.

Observatory of the European Charter for Equality

Several years after the launch of the Charter, an online Observatory was created to support the development of equality action plans, monitor implementation and evaluate its impact on the ground. The Observatory highlights good practices and promotes exchanges between the signatories.

The Observatory wouldn’t exist today without the generous financial support provided by the Swedish Government in cooperation with CEMR’s Swedish association (SALAR). 

The work of the Observatory is carried out by the CEMR Secretariat, the CEMR Standing Committee for Equality, composed of local and regional elected representatives who champion equality, as well as an expert group of national coordinators from CEMR member associations. 

Since 2015, the Committee is chaired by Ibon Uribe, Mayor of Galdakao, representing the Association of Basque municipalities (EUDEL).