Keywords: Women Political Participation; Equal Opportunity; Survey; Councilwomen; Gender Mainstreaming.
This article aims to analyse the issue of equal opportunities within the relevant social context of political representation at the local level in Italy. The gap between the formal political rights enjoyment and the low participation in active political life, common to several Western democracies, is in Italy significantly wide, due to the high gender inequality. The number of women on the Italian political scene tends to increase inversely to the centrality of the institutions, from the national to the local level. The focus of the paper is on the configuration of women representation at the local level through the findings of a survey based on CAWI method on a national sample of Italian councilwomen. The article consists of four parts. The first deals with women participation in representative political institutions. The second part describes the research process. The third part illustrates the analysis of the main survey results. In the conclusions, we discuss the findings and reflect on women political action and on how the issue of gender equality advocates or not their institutional role, by considering current literature and public debate.