Working Group on Gender Equality

Working Group on Gender Equality

UBC Working Group on Gender Equality

The Working Group on Gender Equality does not stand up for a particular commission. Its aim is to rather help to strengthen the gender equality perspective in the work of all the different UBC commissions. The main purpose of the group is to develop the strategy regarding the fact that gender equality concerns all the other components of creating an inclusive and attractive city, including health, culture or safety above the other aspects.

Issues considered as gender-related practically engage all the factors of improving local life and it is of great importance to strengthen and accelerate the work on gender equality in the UBC and its member cities and regions.

Local authorities play a key role in the work for gender equality because of their closeness to the citizens. Both women and men can take part in this work and both women and men will benefit from a gender equal society. Regardless of the personal coordination, the idea of managing the group is to make the decision processes horizontal and inclusive for all the other members, participants and allies.

Building strategies for gender mainstreaming in the UBC cities

The Working Group wants to ensure a stronger presence of gender issues in the work of UBC in the cities by strengthening the cooperation with commissions. The Working Group focuses on three main areas promoting gender equality:

  • Eradication of all forms of gender-based violence
  • Elimination of gender stereotypes resulting in discrimination at decision-making level and labor market
  • Social and urban planning

The Working Group will advance towards its goals by:

  • Awareness-raising within the field of gender equality
  • Lobbying for women's representation at all levels of the UBC
  • Promoting that a gender perspective is integrated into all the activities of the UBC
  • Channeling information and contacts of the member cities
  • Arranging conferences, seminars and meetings
  • Supporting and diagnosing the process of implementation of useful tools and regulations, especially the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life and the Istanbul Convention – both on the EU and national level.

According to the decision made by UBC Executive Board in Kemi 26 February 2015, each commission should include in their forthcoming work plans “information on how they will promote gender equality."

European Charter for Equality of Men and Women in Local Life

The process of promotion and forthcoming validation of the European Charter for Equality of Men and Women in Local Life in several Baltic cities becomes one of the highest priorities according to the WG on Gender Equality's agenda. The members of the group have come up with various initiatives regarding the Charter in the last few years, including the recent seminar in Gdańsk on April 11th 2017.

As the Charter puts it, despite numerous instances of formal recognition and progress made, equality of women and men in daily life is still not a reality. Women and men do not enjoy the same rights in practice. Social, political, economic and cultural inequalities persist – for example, salary disparities and political under-representation. In the given circumstances the Charter offers practical tools and restrictions to be implemented locally in the European cities. UBC Working Group on Gender Equality strongly supports the effort.

The Istanbul Convention

On June 13th 2017 Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality signed the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence on behalf of the European Union. This is an important gesture that leads us to the conclusion on how important it is for the members of Union of Baltic Cities to focus more on raising awareness about the consequences of full application of the Convention, including the needs and specific concerns of the local communities.

The Istanbul Convention, as it is called in short, recommend the local authorities to protect women against all forms of violence, to design the adequate policies and to provide support assistance of the local organizations working on eliminating any forms of violence against women and girls, as well as domestic violence specifically. The aim of the UBC Working Group on Gender Equality is to enlighten the social change actors to make the implementation process and the follow-up the most beneficial from the local and Pan-European perspectives.

Contact persons: 

Hanna Maidell

Senior adviser

The City of Helsinki
Helsingin kaupunki

City of Helsinki/Human Resources Centre
Add. PL 4500
FI-00099 Helsinki
Tel. +358 40 6754896