Skip to main content

European Equality Law Network

European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination

Workshop 2


Biljana Kotevska is a socio-legal feminist researcher from Macedonia. She holds a doctorate in law from Queen’s University Belfast.

Vera Pavlou is a lecturer in labour law at the University of Glasgow. She holds a PhD in Law from the European University Institute.

Vera Pavlou and Biljana Kotevska wrote the forthcoming report on women in the public sphere for the network.

In their presentation, Biljana Kotevska and Vera Pavlou looked at measures Member States have taken to tackle the problem of female under-representation in decision-making positions. They started by mapping out important legally binding standards regarding women’s participation in the public sphere at the international level, focusing on the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the EU, before turning to measures taken at the national level which are clearly influenced by these international developments.

In particular, they looked at measures taken with regard to elections, the legislature, the executive and public enterprises. Some general observations they made in this context were that while quotas are often seen as a panacea, they are only useful if they can be and are enforced and if they are accompanied by institutional and cultural transformation measures to create a more supportive environment for female decision-makers. This includes soft and hard measures to adjust procedures and the infrastructure of decision-making in the public sphere, but also, for example, measures to combat hate speech against women.

Furthermore, they stressed the importance of an intersectional perspective and the need to put in place measures to prevent regression.



Download the video: MP4 format or WebM format.

Powerpoint women in the public sphere

Go to the website of Human European Consultancy
Go to the website of Utrecht University
Go to the website of the Migration Policy Group

Order European equality law review

Click here to order publications