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Equality between women and men

The principle of equality between men and women was established in the Treaty of Rome 1957, with regard to equal pay. Since then, a series of EU laws (directives) broadened the principle of equality to cover working conditions, social security, access to goods and services, maternity protection and parental leave. The principle of equality as a common value of the EU was established in the Lisbon Treaty.

The Commission adopted the Strategy for Equality between men and women 2010-2015, building on the Roadmap 2006-2010, and outlining the key actions planned, including the promotion of:

  • 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;
  • promoting gender equality beyond the EU;
  • horizontal issues (gender roles, including the role of men, legislation and governance tools).

The European Progress Microfinance Facility, launched in 2010, promotes access to finance for vulnerable persons, including women. It has become part of the programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) for 2014-2020.