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    The Final Results of the European Network 'Sister Cities Going Gender'|
 
   
Final Report

There is nothing new in the fact that the nations of northern Europe, especially Sweden, Finland and Denmark, play an exemplary role in European gender politics, although it is also true to say that in certain areas (men's and women's salaries, distribution of work within the family) there is still work to be done. In these countries, gender politics is not primarily directed towards the promotion of women, but has always focussed on both genders, consciously and specifically promoting their equal participation in society.

In the City of Stockholm, for example, there is parity between male and female representatives in both the municipal government and municipal assembly. In the city's administration, too, there is a high proportion of women in leading positions. The imminent retirement wave means that parity at senior administrative level can also be expected in Stockholm very soon. In Espoo, the second largest city in Finland, the proportion of women in the municipal assembly has even surpassed that of men. In comparison, the average proportion of women in municipal councils and assemblies in the Netherlands is 26.5 %, in Germany 24.7 % and in Italy a mere 9.8 %.

Gender policy in northern Europe pervades all essential fields of social policy. It is deeply rooted in each nation's social policy and is also reflected in other areas relevant to social and political life (such as the taxation system, composition of political and governmental bodies). In 1995, for instance, the United Nations named Sweden as the "best practice" example for a policy of equal opportunity and equality.

What is new is the growing realisation that countries in northern Europe have been able to achieve remarkable socio-political advances which can be attributed to progressive gender policies and which are also of existential significance for the future of all European nations. Outstanding examples in this connection are the comparatively high birth rates, the comparatively high employment rates of women and the high levels of education among children and young people in Scandinavian countries.

Based on these findings, the European Union and the European Commission have a very significant role to play in showing the way forward for European gender policy. Support from Europe is of vital importance, especially in overcoming the forces of inertia at national, regional and local level, and a decisive instrument for achieving this is the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the countries of the European Union at national, regional and local level.

The European Sister Cities Going Gender network has the task of supporting the implementation of gender mainstreaming in Europe. Through their co-operation with associated partners in the north of Europe (Stockholm, Helsinki) and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Cities with a European flair from the south (Rome, Venice, Turin), the east (Vienna), the west (Rotterdam), and the centre (Frankfurt), are to help the principle of gender mainstreaming achieve a break-through at municipal level throughout Europe.

When it comes to the implementation of gender mainstreaming in European cities, there is a clear North-South divide:


Gender Equality Policy and Gender Mainstreaming in Scandinavia


Almost all larger cities in Sweden have been actively addressing this issue since the late 1990s and all cities have officers responsible for gender mainstreaming, as well as a wealth of experience in its implementation. The principle is still largely unknown in Finnish cities. However, towns and cities in Finland do have detailed equality plans which will be of great importance for the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the future.

(See Annex I: Wenner, G./ Schneider, W./ Jung, D.: GENDER EQUALITY POLICY and GENDER MAINSTREAMING in Scandinavia: An Example of Selected Cities - Fact-finding Trip to Stockholm and Helsinki/ 21 – 25 June 2004 - Report; Frankfurt am Main, 2004)
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In contrast, cities in the countries of central Europe have only just begun implementing gender policies and the gender mainstreaming principle: In Frankfurt am Main (Germany) for instance, there was an unequivocal City Council Assembly resolution in 2002 to implement gender mainstreaming and the initial steps in this process have already been taken. Some cities in Austria and the Netherlands have been involved in the process of introducing gender budgeting at municipal level for some time now and have already gained useful experience in this field.

It is in the cities of southern Europe in particular that gender mainstreaming as an accepted task of municipal government has not yet entered the awareness of the majority of political decision-makers. The main task here is to make the principle and methods of gender mainstreaming known to people at the political level of municipal administration.

The European Commission's Community Programme on Gender Equality (2001-2005) has enabled the Sister Cities Going Gender network to carry out gender mainstreaming pilot projects in the cities involved.


Implementation of the Gender Mainstreaming Principle in the City of Frankfurt


The City of Frankfurt (Germany) took on the task of developing a pilot project that could be used as a model for implementing gender mainstreaming in European cities. The implementation process for gender mainstreaming in Frankfurt was accompanied by a socio-scientific study throughout the entire course of the project from January 2004 to February 2005. The city's experiences were then published in an information folder and made available to other European cities to assist them in their own projects.

(See Annex II: City of Frankfurt: GENDER MAINSTREAMING – International; Frankfurt am Main, 2005)
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An Expertise on Gender Mainstreaming as an Controversial Issue describing the Political Conditions Experienced in the Implementation of Gender Mainstreaming Principle in European Cities


Gender mainstreaming is a controversial issue, even within the European women's movement. Many women fear - and have unfortunately experienced as much in some cases - public funding being withdrawn from projects related specifically to women with gender mainstreaming being given as the reason. The Verein Autonome Österreichische Frauenhäuser – AÖF (Austrian Women's Shelter Network), Vienna (Austria), compiled an expertise on this issue describing the positive and negative political conditions experienced in the implementation of gender mainstreaming in European cities.

(See Annex III: AÖF: GENDER MAINSTREAMING – Does GENDER MAINSTREAMING improve Women's Chances to participate in decision-making processes? An expertise; Vienna, 2005)
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Gender Budget Analysis in The Cities of Rome and Rotterdam


Policies in general, and this also holds true for equality policy, are finally decided by the allocation and distribution of public funds. This is why the realisation of gender-sensitive budgeting is of such importance. The projects in the Cities of Rome (Italy) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands) therefore focus on introducing the methods of gender budgeting in selected municipal areas.

(See Annex IV: City of Rome: GENDER BUDGET Analysis in Rome - Suggestions for a Guidelines Document; Rome 2005)
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(See Annex V: City of Rotterdam: Jongens and Meisjes in de Schijnwerpers – Pilot Gender Mainstreaming en Gender Budgeting in het jeugdbeleid in de Gemeende Rotterdam; Rotterdam, 2005)
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In particular through discussions with male and female experts in Sweden and Finland, we have been able to ascertain that the successful implementation and application of gender mainstreaming in municipal decision-making procedures is very closely linked to the gender-related make-up of municipal decision-making bodies. The more parity there is between male and female representation, the better the chances are of gender mainstreaming methods actually being applied in the decision-making process and the different interests of men and women actually being taken into consideration. For this reason, it is vital to link the introduction of gender mainstreaming always with specific measures promoting women's access to senior executive positions. The cities of Turin and Venice have been dealing with this topic over the last 15 months as part of the Sister Cities Going Gender project.


Breaking through the "Glass Ceiling"


The City of Turin (Italy) compiled a comparative analysis of selection mechanisms and career developments of men and women in three different types of organisation (administrative, non-profit and profit-making). The objective was to develop effective instruments for breaking through the so-called "glass ceiling".

(See Annex VI: City of Turin: Empowerment of Women in the Work Place: Critical Cognitive Factors in Acquiring Negotiating Skills - Instruments for Negotiation; Turin, 2005)
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A "School of Politics" for Women in Municipal Administration and Politics


To increase the proportion of women in senior political positions, the City of Venice (Italy) has set up a "School of Politics" for women in municipal administration and politics.

(See Annex VII: City of Venice: School of Politics – Training Course on Gender Equality; Venice, 2005)
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The pilot projects initiated by Sister Cities Going Gender and the cooperation between the cities have provided important new impulses for gender policies and the gender mainstreaming implementation processes in the participating cities. Collation of knowledge and experience gained during the course of the project allowed a foundation to be laid for
setting up a Gender Competence Centre for European cities. Publication and propagation of this knowledge and experience began at the project'sFinal Results, held in co-operation with the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) in Brussels.

Publication and propagation will be continued and extended via the project's website, www.sister-cities-going-gender.org, from June 2005 onwards.

Frankfurt am Main, May 2005

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