About the Observatory

Why create the Observatory?

The Charter encourages signatories to take specific measures to implement the provisions set out in the document: among which figures foremost the drafting of an action plan for equality. However, all signatories have not been able to draft action plans. At meetings organised by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) and its national associations, it became clear that the signatories were lacking examples of good practices and expertise in order to move forward from the signatory stage to the implementation stage.


Based on this observation, in order to respond to the growing demand of support from signatories and to continue CEMR’s engagement for equality, the CEMR Executive Bureau decided, at a meeting in Warsaw on the 28th of September in 2011, to establish the Observatory of the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life.


The Observatory has received financial support from the Swedish Government through the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) for a period of 3 years (March 2012 – March 2015) to carry out its activities.


Objectives of the Observatory

The main objective for the Observatory is to help European local and regional authorities to develop local policies for equality between women and men, in particular through the realisation of the objectives outlined in the Charter. How? By supporting the development of action plans, the monitoring of the implementation and the evaluation of the impact on the ground. The Observatory is also in charge of increasing the visibility of the Charter and promoting exchanges between the signatories.


The Standing Committee for Equality of women and men in local life

The CEMR Committee of women elected representatives of local and regional authorities became the Standing Committee for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life, following a decision by the CEMR Policy Committee in Brussels on the 12th and 13th of December 2011. It is composed of elected representatives nominated by the national associations of CEMR that have expressed their interest to participate in the work of the Committee. Its role is to decide on the overall objectives and to follow the work of the Observatory.


Since January 2021, the Committee is chaired by Ms. Silvia Baraldi, Councillor of Legnago Municipality (Italy, AICCRE).


The national coordinators of the Observatory

The Observatory has established a network of national coordinators composed of administrators and experts working with the Charter from CEMR’s member associations.


This network is in charge of supporting the Observatory’s activities in monitoring the implementation of the Charter by maintaining contact with the signatories and disseminating information related to the Charter at national level.


Current work

The CEMR Standing Committee for Equality and the expert group on gender equality prepared a gender equality position paper and action plan (adopted in June 2018) to guide the work of the Observatory of the 2018-2020 period.


“Local equality: Going the distance to achieve gender equality” is available for download here.