It is a common misconception that the battle for gender equality in political life has been won. In most member states, women are significantly under-represented in local, regional and national decision-making bodies. On a Europe-wide level, they account for only 18 % of parliamentary membership. This book traces the history of the Council of Europe policy on promoting the women's participation in political life. It describes the principles and methods behind policies, the institutional mechanisms on which they are based, and analyses the major topics involved. It concludes by discussing areas essential for future work: gender quotas for political parties, guaranteed social rights for women and the reinforcement of secularity.