Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in the European Union
Equality between women and men is a common value of the European Union that is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. Pursuant to the Treaty on the European Union, promoting gender equality is one of the Union’s tasks (Article 3). In all its activities, it aims to eliminate inequalities and to promote equality between women and men (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Article 8).
In the field of gender equality the European Union adopted significant legislation. Member states of the European Union are obliged to implement these directives. In addition to the legally binding directives the European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020) and the Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality (2016-2019) represent a clear commitment to promote gender equality within the EU and a catalogue of measures to achieve this objective on EU and Member State level. Progress is reported every year and presented in the European Commission's "Report on Equality between women and men".
Strengthening gender Equality is also an important concern in order to reach the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. Europe 2020 is the strategy of the European Union for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Two out of five headline targets focus on the increase of employment and reduction of poverty:
- By 2020, 75 % of Europeans aged 20-64 should be employed.
- There should be at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion.
For reaching these targets, it is - on the one hand - very important to enhance women's labour market participation in high quality jobs with living wages. On the other hand, it is necessary to tackle women’s high exposure to poverty in general and to poverty in old age. Their economic independence and social inclusion shall be ensured in all stages of life.
Documents and Link
- European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020) (PDF)
- Strategy for Equality between men an women (2010-2015) PDF (883KB)
- Europe 2020 strategy (PDF)
- Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality (2016-2019) (PDF)
- Overview of relevant EU legislation and documents (European Commission)
- Further information on the webpage of the Directorate General for Justice of the European Commission
- Annual reports on Equality between women and men (European Commission)
- Special Eurobarometer 428 on Gender Equality PDF (9227KB)