The Fourth event of the programme was organized by the Municipality of Xàtiva in the city Xàtiva, on July 7, 2023, under the title: Public consultations, youth participation and gender perspective. A total of 37 people participated, from 6 countries, 29 women and 8 men. The event was ogranised by the departments of Youth and the Women and Equality departments and started with a welcoming address by the mayor of the city, Roger Cerdà i Boluda who introduced the international participants to work of the city and its efforts to increase citizens participation. Participants had then the opportunity to visit the Cultural House, the Youth House and the Women’s House where the organisers presented the work that is done and how they empower especially young people and women to be active citizens and safeguard their civil and human rights.
Angela Lloret, equality agent Soledat Colomer Belda, youth technician from the municipality of Xàtiva presented two flagship campaigns the city runs since 2017: one called NO ÉS NO (No is No) and the other ESTIMA’M BÉ (Love me well). The first campaign raises awareness to citizens that no means no. As part of the campaign, campaigners and activists visited bars, discos, public spaces, informed professionals how to identify women that need help and distributed over 20.000 bracelets with the logo of the campaign.
Raluca Anghel, financial manager of the Union of Counties of Romania (UNCJR) demonstrated the swift in Romanian public opinion in relation to women’s representation in politics which is significant the past 20 years -but still lagging behind other EU countries with 48% of Romanians considering that the role of the man is to earn money and of the woman to take care of the house and family -compared to 26% EU average and less than 10% for the Scandinavian countries. Based on these findings Raluca presented proposals and recommendations that could further improve the situation in Romania.
Andrea Varga deputy-mayor and Kamilla Kovács, head of the participation office of Miskolc presented the participation scheme of the county that aims to address the general democratic deficit, and rebuild the forms of cooperation among citizens and local authorities. Ms Varga and Kovács explained step by step the concept of citizens participation that includes participation labs, participatory budgeting, and participatory planning.
Mojca Kleva Kekuš, Adviser on Development projects for the municipality of Koper, focused on youth participation and the activities Koper initiated to create a stimulating and welcoming environment for your people that will help them develop new competences and skills and creative thinking. As part of this process, the municipality created 2 youth centers that offer a mixture of workshop, lectures, outdoor activities, mentoring and more. Participatory budget is another way to involve citizens and to fund projects and infrastructures based on the expressed needs of young people.
Vasso Margariti– deputy mayor of Kallithea, responsible for equality and family planning underlined that Kallithea signed the European Equality Charter and committed to its implementation. In the framework of this commitment, Kallithea introduced various activities, events, workshops thar promote gender balance and created specific infrastructures within the administration: An equality office, equality committee and consultative committee and increased cooperation with existing structures such as the family counseling center of the municipality. The presentations were followed by an extensive discussion among the participants regarding the role that local government can play in the activation of citizens but also the balance that should be ensured between desires/needs and realistic possibilities/funding. The partners renewed their appointment for Xàtiva in October, for the first workshop where the handbook will be also discussed.