Related Links

European Union

Main Institutions

The Council of the European Union along with the European Parliament is the principal decision-making institutions in the EU. Gender Equality along with employment, social affairs and health issues is handled in the EPSCO which meets four times a year in formal session.

The European Commission is the main administrative organ with a right of initiative in bringing forward legislative proposals for the Union as well as having policy and oversight competences.

The Court of Justice with its seat in Luxembourg is the main adjudicator and decider of disputes regarding the application of Union law and the Union’s competences to act under the Treaties.

European Gender Institute for Gender Equality

The European Institute of Gender Equality located in Vilnius, Lithuania, is an agency of the European Union established in May 2007 to carryout research and reporting on matters of gender equality across the Union.

EU & Gender Equality

The first European Pact for Gender Equality was adopted by the European Council in 2006. The Pact emphasized the importance of utilizing women’s untapped potential in the labour market, including by promoting women’s empowerment in economic and political life, and of the need to close gender gaps, combat gender stereotypes and to promote better work/life balance for women and men.

A revision of the Pact was prepared under the Hungarian Presidency in the first half of 2011 to provide fresh impetus and to reaffirm and support the close link between the Pact and Europe 2020, the EU’s key policy document for jobs and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and the European Commission’s ‘Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015’. The draft Council Conclusions on the renewed European Pact for Gender Equality 2011-2020 were adopted by the EPSCO Council in March 2011.

Europe 2020 Strategy

The Europe 2020 Strategy adopted in mid 2010 sets out the EU’s economic policy for the period to 2020 and aims to create a high technology sustainable economy.  It includes a goal of an employment rate of 75 per cent for women and men by end 2020, an ambitious target, particularly for countries badly affected by the economic downturn.  It envisages that the economic engagement of increased numbers of women will assist in achieving this goal.

Gender Equality & the Economic Down Turn

The European Union, and in particular Commissioner Vladimar Spidla with responsibility for Employment, spoke during 2011 about the need to maintain a focus on gender equality and gender issues during the economic downturn. In particular, the Commission was of the view that there was a need to ensure that gender consequences are taken into account when Member States are planning their austerity measures for economic recovery, bearing in mind the differential impacts these measures may have on women and men.

Current Legislative Proposals Relevant to Gender Equality

Maternity Leave Directive - DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Council Directive 92/85/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding - Maternity Directive 

Company Boards - DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on
stock exchanges and related measures

Protection order in civil matter - Mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters (Proposal) COM(2011) 276

Relevant Links:

DG Justice Gender Equality 

FEMM Committee -

European Court of Justice -

European Union Index 

European Union News


Additional links

For details on the various Topics available in this section, please select from the links below


European Commission

European Parliament

EU Presidency

European Institute of Gender Equality