Commission's Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019

Promoting gender equality is a core activity for the EU: equality between women and men is a fundamental EU value, an EU objective and a driver for economic growth. The Union shall aim to promote equality between men and women in all its activities. The Commission’s 2010-2015 strategy for equality between women and men prioritised five key areas for action:

  • equal economic independence for women and men;
  • equal pay for work of equal value;
  • equality in decision-making;
  • dignity, integrity and ending gender-based violence; and
  • promoting gender equality beyond the EU.

Progress has been achieved in recent years, as witnessed, for example, by the highest employment rate ever recorded for women (64 % in 2014) and their increasing participation in economic decision-making. However, this upward trend is offset by persistent inequality in other areas, e.g. in terms of pay and earnings.
All five key areas identified in 2010 remain valid today. Action over the past five years to address gender inequalities needs more time to secure the necessary changes and support in the form of new measures in these areas. At the same time, recent socio-economic changes resulting from the economic crisis, the rapid spread of digital technology and immigration and integration impact on gender equality.
Therefore, as set out in its 2016 work programme, the Commission will continue its practical work to promote gender equality. Action will continue with a focus on all the five priority areas. Efforts are required of all actors if we are to achieve real equality between women and men in all spheres of life within the EU and elsewhere. This “Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019” is a reference framework for increased effort at all levels, be they European, national, regional or local. It continues to corroborate the 2011-2020 European Pact for gender equality.

Member States, the European Parliament and a wide range of stakeholders have all contributed, including through a public consultation which attracted almost 5 000 replies. An overwhelming majority (94 %) of the organisations that replied consider the priorities laid out in the current strategy still to be valid for future engagement.
This view is confirmed by Member States, who also recognise the importance of European-level action in providing a reference framework. More and more Member States are addressing gender equality challenges through national strategies or action plans for equality between women and men (see Annex 5). These vary in focus and ambition, but all (see Annex 6) cover policies on gender-based violence and gender equality in the labour market. Education and training, gender stereotypes and the reconciliation of work and family life are also covered extensively; decision-making is the area addressed least.

The “Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019” is based on continuous and ad hoc evaluation of the 2010-2015 strategy, which has concluded inter alia that it has added value in a number of areas, especially in relation to agenda-setting and learning, by providing a valuable framework for gender mainstreaming in the Commission and for the implementation of a coherent framework for gender-equality policies in the Member States.
Europeans feel strongly about promoting gender equality: three quarters of respondents of a recent Eurobarometer survey (76 %) think that tackling inequality between men and women should be an EU priority. Around nine in ten (91 %) agree that tackling inequality between men and women is necessary to creating a fairer society.

Source: Publications Office of the European Union, 2015

Document type
  • Policy/Strategy


Publication Year


Geographical focus
  • General/no specific focus
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Admin on June 23, 2016
Modified on June 23, 2016