Quick facts

Qualitative facts

1.  Electoral system and party system and their impact on women

2.  History of Women's suffrage

3.  Legal framework for the promotion of a balance between men and women in political decision-making
   a.  Infrastructure responsible for EO
   b.  Women's participation in politics as a governmental objective and strategy
   c.  Actions initiated to promote women's participation in politics

Portrait:
Lydie Err (*1949)


Europäische Datenbank: Frauen in Führungspositionen

Report from Luxembourg by our transnational partner
Nadine Du Bois und Monique Stein

Quick facts
Women in Politics:
Women's suffrage active: 1919
Women's suffrage passive: 1919
1st Women in parliament: 1919 Marguerite Thomas-Clément
1st Women in government: 1969-1972 Madeleine Frieden-Kinnen,
Ministry of Family, Youth, Social Solidarity and Education
1st Ministry on women's issues: 1995
% women in national Parliament: 16,7% (2000)
% women in national Government: 28,6% (2000)
Electoral System:
Proportional: Chamber of Deputies:
60 deputies elected by party list vote from 4 multi-seat constituencies (23-seat South, 21-seat Center, 9-seat North, 7-seat East).
Quota:
Quota Law: No quota regulation legislation.
Party Quota: Parity in party bodies and positions within the Green Party, within LSAP (socialist worker's party) different quota regulations for different bodies.
Education:
% women with secondary degree: 43,9 %
% women with degree in higher education: 11,3%
% women in senior management: 23,7%
Women's employment rates:
Full time: 36,9% (1998)
Part-time: 20,2% (1998)
Activity rate: 46,7% (1998)
Unemployment: 4,2% (1998)
*sources: Employment in Europe 1999 and Schlüsselzahlen zum Bildungswesen in der Europäischen Union, Amt für amtliche Veröffentlichungen der Europäischen Gemeinschaft 1997, Luxemburg; European Database - Women in Decision-Making and data by transnational experts.

to the top

Qualitative facts

1. Electoral system and party system and their impact on women

Direktes Proporz-Wahlsystem. 3 large parties and 3 small ones. Luxembourg is divided into 4 electoral regions. Parties present their candidates on lists. Voters can either vote for a list (each candidate on the list gets one vote) or vote per person (in each region voters have as many votes as MP's to be elected for that region) with a max. of 2 votes per candidate. Here the voter can choose among the candidates of every list. Lists are not blocked. This system favours "well-known" and popular candidates. Unknown candidates (mostly women) do not really have a chance to be elected. Electoral campaigns focus on personalities more than on topics. Moreover, parties prefer to put well-known or popular candidates on their lists. This system does not favour women.

to the top

2. History of Women's suffrage

Women's active and passive suffrage was introduced in 1919 without pressure from women's rights activists. In fact, women's suffrage was introduced to "save" the constitutional monarchy. The political situation was really tense in 1919. There was strong pressure to make Luxembourg a republic. The conservative government could only prevent this by asking French troops to intervene. Women's suffrage was adopted in Parliament thanks to the votes of the socialist and the conservative parties against the votes of the liberal party. The conservatives wanted to undermine all revolutionary pressure and yielded to left-wing demands such as women's votes, 8-hour-workday, etc.

to the top

3. Legal framework for the promotion of a balance between men and women in political decision-making

No legal framework. In the coalition paper of the new government elected in 1999, it says "the government will not introduce quotas". The liberal party DP is strongly opposed to quotas and to all legislation in favour of a better balance between men and women in political decision-making.

to the top

a. Infrastructure responsible for EO

Since 1995, Luxembourg has had an independent ministry for women's affairs (Ministère de la Promotion féminine). The conservative-socialist Government introduced this Ministry after the departure of the former Prime Minister Santer to the European Commission. Not yet 5 years is a too short a time to do all the work that has to be done. At the beginning, the Ministry focused on information campaigns, campaigns against violence against women and children. Then the Ministry started research on working women and housewives and on women in politics. It is a small Ministry with a limited budget.

to the top

b. Women's participation in politics as a governmental objective and strategy

No objective. In the coalition paper of the new government elected in 1999, it says "the government will not introduce quotas". The liberal party DP is strongly opposed to quotas and to all legislation in favour of a better balance between men and women in political decision-making.

to the top

c. Actions initiated to promote women's participation in politics

The Ministry of Women's Affairs started financing statistical studies on the matter. Especially last year (1999) with legislative, European and communal elections taking place in the same year, studies were financed. The studies included a statistical study on how women voted and a study on women's participation.
CNFL (Conseil national des Femmes Luxembourgeoises), an NGO, is supported in its actions to promote women's political participation on the communal level.
Every year on March 8th Parliament has a debate on women's topics. Last year and this year the debate focused on women in decision-making. This year the focus was on political decision-making. A public hearing is planned in Parliament and NGOs will be heard on the matter. With the liberal party (DP) in the government, there is only a small hope for great progress on this matter. As said before, they are strictly opposed to promoting women, politics, work, etc.

to the top

Portrait: Lydie Err (*1949)

Date of Birth: April 23rd, 1949
Place of Birth: Petingen (Pétange)

Member of Parliament since July 16th, 1984 (except for a brief period between 1998 and 1999).
1998 until June 1999: Secretary of State in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Cooperation, also in the Ministry for Public Works.
Presently member of the following parlamentary committees:
· President of the Committee for Petitions (Commission des Pétitions)
· Vice-President of the Juridical Committee (Commission juridique)
·Member of the Committee on Equal Opportunities and the Promotion of Women (Commission de l'Egalité des Chances entre femmes et hommes et de la Promotion féminine)
·Delegate to the Council of Europe and the WEU

Lydie ERR has been a lawyer since 1976. She studied law in Strasburg, and also holds a degree from the 'Hautes Etudes Europénnes'.

On March 23rd she was elected Vice President of the LSAP. From 1983 to 1994 she was President of the 'Femmes Socialistes' and, from 1983 to 1994, President of the Control Commission of her party.

The protection of human rights in the widest sense of the term is the major focus of her political work. In this context, she fights for equal opportunity, the rights of non-marital unions, and the right to a 'humane dying'.

Her political career started as a community council member in Petingen (1981-1985). In 1984 she was elected Member of the Luxemburg Parliament, and has been continuously re-elected until this day. From 1989 to 1991 she was Vice-President of the Luxemburg Parliament. From 1989 to 1998, she was head of the Committee on Foreign and European Politics, from 1984 to 1989 President of the Juridical Committee.

At the Council of Europe, she was for certain periods head of the Luxemburg delegation, as well as president of the juridical committee and of the human rights commission.

After the parliamentary elections in June 1999, she continued her international mandates at the Council of Europe and the WEU. She is also a member of the 'Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie'.

to the top


Credits   Country Reports |  Start |  Index |  Das Team |  Hilfe |  Ziele |  email   © August 2000  [ European Commission, DG V ]