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European Education and Culture Executive Agency

Town Twinning for gender equality

On this banner with a purple background it's written International Women's Day with its logo

What steps can a town take to shape a future that promotes gender equity? Which policies should it implement to get there? To answer these questions, the city of Marburg, together with the Marburg University organised a CERV-funded future lab on ‘Sister cities for gender equality’ under the motto Inventing Marburg in June 2022. The aim of the lab was to facilitate exchanges of good practices that could be an inspiration for other towns, especially from the twin cities of Eisenach (Germany), Maribor (Slovenia), Poitiers (France), Sfax (Tunisia) and Sibiu (Romania).

The future lab focused on three thematic areas: political representation of women, work against gender-related violence and gender equality in the cultural sector. Each of the three thematic areas included an introduction to the topic, as well as an exchange session in which good practice examples from Marburg and the partner cities could be explained. The town twinning project laid the groundwork for gender equality: subsequent meetings with the twin towns gave place to several key results, such as a fundraising campaign for the establishment of a women's shelter in Sfax and a professional exchange and training for staff on gender-based violence by the Marburg Women's Shelter.

The project also developed creative methods for advancing the work on political representation of women through exchange of best practices within the framework of mentoring programmes or offers for female local politicians. The town twinning project highlighted the need to integrate gender equality within operational structures or administrations where it had not yet been established.

Almost two years later, exchanges between the twin towns on gender equality continue. The Future Lab was embedded in a cultural framework programme (Women on stage for Gender Equality) and since April 2023, cultural events around the topics of the Future Lab (film series, concerts) take place regularly.

To learn more about the project, visit its website.


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