Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social committee and the Committee of the Regions - A Roadmap for equality between women and men 2006-2010 {SEC(2006) 275} /* COM/2006/0092 final */


Brussels, 01.3.2006

COM(2006) 92 final


A Roadmap for equality between women and men


{SEC(2006) 275}


This Roadmap outlines six priority areas for EU action on gender equality for the period 2006-2010: equal economic independence for women and men; reconciliation of private and professional life; equal representation in decision-making; eradication of all forms of gender-based violence; elimination of gender stereotypes; promotion of gender equality in external and development policies. For each area, it identifies priority objectives and actions. The Commission cannot alone achieve these objectives, as in many areas the centre of gravity for action lies at Member State level. Thus, this Roadmap represents the Commission's commitment to driving the gender equality agenda forward, reinforcing partnership with Member states, and other actors.

This Roadmap builds on the experience of the Framework Strategy for equality between women and men[1] for the period 2001-2005. It combines the launch of new actions and the reinforcement of successful existing activities. It reaffirms the dual approach of gender equality based on gender mainstreaming (the promotion of gender equality in all policy areas and activities) and specific measures.

Gender equality is a fundamental right, a common value of the EU, and a necessary condition for the achievement of the EU objectives of growth, employment and social cohesion. The EU has made significant progress in achieving gender equality, thanks to equal treatment legislation, gender mainstreaming, specific measures for the advancement of women, action programmes, social dialogue and dialogue with civil society. The European Parliament has been an important partner for progress. Many women have attained the highest levels of education, entered the labour market and become important players in public life. Nevertheless, inequalities remain and may widen, as increased global economic competition requires a more flexible and mobile labour force. This can impact more on women, who are often obliged to choose between having children or a career, due to the lack of flexible working arrangements and care services, the persistence of gender stereotypes, and an unequal share of family responsibilities with men. Progress made by women, including in key areas for the Lisbon Strategy such as education and research, are not fully reflected in women's position on the labour market. This is a waste of human capital that the EU cannot afford. At the same time, low birth rates and a shrinking workforce threaten the EU’s political and economic role.

The EU remains an important partner in the global effort to promote gender equality. Turning globalisation into a positive force for all women and men and fighting poverty are major challenges. Communication technologies make crimes such as human trafficking easier and more widespread.

If the EU is to meet these challenges, progress towards gender equality must accelerate, and gender mainstreaming must be strengthened in all policies and in particular in the areas identified in this Roadmap.



1.1 Reaching the Lisbon employment targets

The Lisbon employment targets call for a 60% employment rate for women by 2010. At present, it is at 55.7% and is much lower (31.7%) for older women (55-64 years old). Women also have a higher unemployment rate than men (9.7% against 7.8%). The gender dimension of the Lisbon strategy for jobs and growth must be strengthened. Compliance with equal treatment legislation and an effective use of the new Structural Funds (e.g. training, entrepreneurship measures) can help increase women's employment. The individualisation of rights linked to tax and benefit systems can also ensure that it pays for both women and men to work.

1.2 Eliminating the gender pay gap

Despite EU legislation on equal pay, women earn 15% less than men[2] and this gap is decreasing at a much slower pace than the gender employment gap. Its persistence results from direct discrimination against women and structural inequalities, such as segregation in sectors, occupations and work patterns, access to education and training, biased evaluation and pay systems, and stereotypes. Tackling these issues requires a multifaceted approach and the mobilisation of all parties.

1.3 Women entrepreneurs

Women constitute, on average, 30% of entrepreneurs in the EU. They often face greater difficulties than men in starting up businesses and in accessing finance and training. The recommendations of the EU Entrepreneurship Action Plan makes on increasing women’s start-ups through better access to finance and the development of entrepreneurial networks need to be further implemented.

1.4 Gender equality in social protection and the fight against poverty

Social protection systems should remove disincentives for women and men to enter and remain on the labour market, allowing them to accumulate individual pension entitlements. However, women are still likely to have shorter or interrupted careers and, therefore, fewer rights than men. This increases the risk of poverty, especially for single parents, older women or for women working in family-based businesses, such as agriculture and fisheries. The new European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and Rural Development policies (EAFRD) can improve women's situation in these sectors. It is essential that social protection systems ensure that these women have access to adequate benefits, in particular when they retire.

1.5 Recognising the gender dimension in health

Women and men are confronted with specific health risks, diseases, issues and practices impacting their health. This includes environmental issues such as chemicals and pesticide use, as they are often transmitted during the pregnancy and through breast feeding. Medical research and many safety and health standards relate more to man and male-dominated work areas.

Knowledge in this field should be improved and statistics and indicators further developed. Social, health and care services should be modernised with a view to improving their accessibility, quality and responsiveness to the new and specific needs of women and men.

1.6 Combating multiple discrimination, in particular against immigrant and ethnic minority women

The EU is committed to the elimination of all discrimination and the creation of an inclusive society for all. Women members of disadvantaged groups are often worse off than their male counterparts. The situation of ethnic minority and immigrant women is emblematic. They often suffer from double discrimination. This requires the promotion of gender equality in migration and integration policies in order to ensure women's rights and civic participation, to fully use their employment potential and to improve their access to education and lifelong learning.

Key actions

The Commission will

- monitor and strengthen gender mainstreaming in particular in:

- the Integrated Guidelines for growth and jobs and the new streamlined open method of coordination that covers pensions, social inclusion, health and long-term care[3], including by preparing in 2007 gender equality manuals for actors involved in these processes and assessing how social protection systems can promote gender equality

- health policies, including by updating the analysis of the gender dimension in health

- national and European activities in the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All and in the 2010 European Year of Combating Exclusion and Poverty

- together with Member States, promote gender mainstreaming and specific measures in the programming and implementation of the new Structural Funds[4], the EFF and EAFRD (2007-2013), including through monitoring and ensuring adequate resources for gender equality

- the Framework for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals in the EU[5], the follow-up to the Policy Plan on legal Migration[6], the European Social Fund (ESF) and the proposed European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals

- present a Communication on gender pay gap in 2007

- prepare in 2010 a report on the implementation of the Directive on equal treatment for women and men in the access to and supply of goods and services[7]

- promote female entrepreneurship and a business environment that facilitates the creation and development of women-led companies; encourage corporate social responsibility initiatives on gender equality


2.1 Flexible working arrangements for both women and men

Reconciliation policies help create a flexible economy, while improving the quality of women's and men's lives. They help people enter and stay on the labour market, using the full potential of the workforce and must be equally available to women and men. Flexible working arrangements boost productivity, enhance employee satisfaction and employer's reputation. However, the fact that far more women than men make use of such arrangements creates a gender imbalance which has a negative impact on women's position in the workplace and their economic independence.

2.2 Increasing care services

Europe has to face a threefold challenge: a shrinking working age population, low birth rates and a growing population of older people. Better work-life balance arrangements are part of the answer to the demographic decline by offering more affordable and accessible childcare facilities, as required by the Barcelona targets[8], and providing services that meet the care needs of the elderly and of people with disabilities. The quality of these services should be improved and the qualifications of staff, mainly women, developed and better valued.

2.3 Better reconciliation policies for both women and men

Services and structures are adapting too slowly to a situation where both women and men work. Few men take parental leave or work part-time (7.4% compared to 32.6% for women); women remain the main carers of children and other dependants. Men should be encouraged to take up family responsibilities, in particular through incentives to take parental and paternity leaves and to share leave entitlements with women.

Key actions

The Commission will

- present in 2006 a Communication on Demography[9] addressing the issue of reconciliation of family and work life

- support the achievement of the Barcelona targets on childcare and the development of other care facilities through the Structural Funds and the exchange of good practices

- support research on health and social sectors professions and work with international organisations towards a better classification of these jobs

Promoting Equal Participation of Women and Men in Decision-Making

3.1 Women's participation in politics

Women's persistent under-representation in political decision-making is a democratic deficit. Women's active citizenship and participation in politics and in senior management public administration at all levels (local, regional, national, European) should be further promoted. The availability of EU-comparable and reliable data remains a priority.

3.2 Women in economic decision-making

A balanced participation of women and men in economic decision-making can contribute to a more productive and innovative work environment and culture and better economic performance. Transparency in promotion processes, flexible working arrangements, and availability of care facilities are essential.

3.3 Women in science and technology

The participation of women in science and technology can contribute to increasing innovation, quality and competitiveness of scientific and industrial research and needs to be promoted. In order to reach the target[10] of 25% women in leading positions in public sector research, policies should be implemented and progress monitored. Further networking and availability of EU data are essential.

Key actions

The Commission will

- monitor and promote gender mainstreaming in particular in:

- the European research policy and the 7th Framework Programme, including by ensuring the implementation of Gender Action Plans, developing gender specific research, monitoring gender mainstreaming and women's participation in the announced European Research Council

- the Education and Training 2010 Programme by promoting women’s access to scientific and technical careers in line with the European objective of redressing the gender imbalance in this field; develop in 2007 a European Guide of Best Practices on ICT Gender Issues

- the implementation of the future Citizens for Europe Programme by including gender equality in the field of active citizenship as one of the priority themes, and through mobilisation of existing networks

- establish in 2007 an EU network of women in economic and political decision-making positions

- support awareness-raising activities, the exchange of good practices and research, including on the basis of the European database on women and men in decision-making, particularly in view of the European Parliament elections in 2009

Eradicating Gender-based Violence and Trafficking

4.1 Eradication of gender-based violence

The EU is committed to combating all forms of violence. Women are the main victims of gender-based violence. This is a breach of the fundamental right to life, safety, freedom, dignity and physical and emotional integrity. Violation of these rights cannot be tolerated or excused on any ground. Prevention is essential and requires education and knowledge, the development of networking and partnership, and the exchange of good practices. Urgent action is needed to eliminate customary or traditional harmful attitudes and practices, including female genital mutilation, early and forced marriages, and honour crimes.

4.2 Elimination of trafficking in human beings

Human trafficking is a crime against individuals and a violation of their fundamental rights. It is a form of modern slavery to which poverty-stricken women and children, in particular girls, are more vulnerable. Its elimination requires a combination of preventive measures, criminalisation of trafficking through adequate legislation, and protection and assistance to victims[11]. Measures to discourage the demand for women and children for sexual exploitation must be further developed. This approach is reflected in the EU Action on trafficking in human beings[12]. The Directive on residence permits for victims of trafficking[13] will provide a new tool for the reintegration of victims through access to the labour market, vocational training and education. Synergies with the ESF should be fully exploited. The EU should develop comparable data to yearly assess trafficking in each country.

Key actions

The Commission will

- issue a Communication on the establishment of a system for comparable statistics on crime, victims and criminal justice in 2006 and monitor progress at EU level

- support Member States and NGOs in their efforts to eradicate gender-based violence, including customary or traditional harmful practices, by promoting awareness-raising campaigns, supporting networking, exchange of good practices and research, and by implementing programmes for victims as well as perpetrators, encouraging Member States to establish national action plans

- follow up on the Communication and the EU Action Plan on trafficking in human beings and promote the use of all existing instruments, including the ESF, for the reintegration into society of victims of violence and human trafficking

Eliminating Gender Stereotypes in Society

5.1 Elimination of gender stereotypes in education, training and culture

Education, training and culture continue to transmit gender stereotypes. Women and men often follow traditional education and training paths, which often place women in occupations that are less valued and remunerated. Policy should focus on combating gender stereotypes from an early age, providing awareness training to teachers and students, and encouraging young women and men to explore non-traditional educational paths. The education system should provide young people with adequate qualification. Therefore, it is also important to tackle the phenomenon of early school leaving, which affects more boys than girls.

5.2 Elimination of gender stereotypes in the labour market

Women still face both horizontal and vertical segregation. Most of them continue to be employed in sectors traditionally occupied by women, which are typically less recognised and valued. Moreover, they generally occupy lower echelons of the organisational hierarchy. It is as important to facilitate women’s entry into non-traditional sectors as it is to promote men's presence in sectors traditionally occupied by women. Anti-discriminatory laws should be enforced, and training and incentives provided.

5.3 Elimination of gender stereotypes in the media

The media have a crucial role to play in combating gender stereotypes. It can contribute to presenting a realistic picture of the skills and potential of women and men in modern society and avoid portraying them in a degrading and offensive manner. Dialogue with stakeholders and awareness-raising campaigns should be promoted at all levels.

Key actions

The Commission will

- support actions to eliminate gender stereotypes in education, culture and on the labour market by promoting gender mainstreaming and specific actions in the ESF, ICT programmes and in EU education and culture programmes, including EU Lifelong Learning strategy and the future Integrated Lifelong Learning programme

- support awareness-raising campaigns and exchange of good practices in schools and enterprises on non-stereotyped gender roles and develop dialogue with media to encourage a non-stereotyped portrayal of women and men

- raise awareness on gender equality in dialogue with EU citizens through the Commission's plan for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate[14]

Promoting of Gender Equality Outside the EU

6.1 Enforcement of EU legislation in acceding, candidate and potential candidate countries [15]

Countries joining the EU must fully embrace the fundamental principle of equality between women and men. They must ensure strict enforcement of legislation and put in place adequate administrative and judicial systems. Monitoring the transposition, implementation and enforcement of the EU gender equality legislation will be an EU priority for future enlargement processes.

6.2 Promotion of gender equality in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), external and development policies

Gender equality is a goal in itself, a human right and contributes to reducing poverty. The EU is a key player in international development efforts and adheres to internationally recognised principles such as the Millennium Development Declaration and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA). It has reaffirmed gender equality as one of the five key principles of the development policy in the European Consensus on development [16]. The new EU Strategy for Africa[17] includes gender equality as a key element in all partnerships and national development strategies. The EU is committed to promoting gender equality in external relations, including in the ENP. EU humanitarian interventions take particular account of the specific needs of women.

Across the world, the EU will continue to promote education and a safe environment for girls and women, sexual and reproductive health and rights, the empowerment of women, which contribute to fighting HIV/AIDS, and the fight against female genital mutilation. Women's participation in economic, political life and decision-making, in conflict prevention and resolution, peace building and reconstruction need to be fostered by the EU and its Member States.

Key actions

The Commission will

- monitor and raise awareness on the transposition, implementation and effective enforcement of the Community acquis on gender equality in the acceding, candidate and potential candidate countries, including in the programming of pre-accession aid and in accession negotiations

- monitor and promote gender mainstreaming and specific measures in the ENP, EU external relations and development policies, at policy dialogue and programming levels (Country Strategic Papers and Poverty Reduction Strategic Papers). At implementation level, particular attention will be devoted to gender mainstreaming in the new aids modalities (budget support and sector programmes)

- present in 2006 a Communication on A European Vision on Gender Equality in Development Cooperation

- promote gender mainstreaming in EC humanitarian aid operations by including the gender dimension as a part of thematic and technical reviews (including for capacity building) and evaluations

- strengthen gender equality in the Mediterranean region, including by organising in 2006 a Euromed Ministerial Conference on gender equality, preceded by a civil society consultation, which could lead to the adoption of an action plan

- contribute to the achievements of the BPfA and other relevant international and regional conventions by supporting programmes, capacity building and data collection capacity in developing countries

- contribute to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security, including by developing in 2006 guidelines on gender mainstreaming in crisis management training activities

- promote women's organisations and networks


Gender equality can only be achieved with a clear commitment at the highest political level. The Commission promotes gender equality within its own ranks[18] and supports a number of structures[19] working on gender issues, which have led to significant progress. .

However, major progress still has to be achieved in the key areas identified in this Roadmap and this requires better governance at all levels: EU institutions, Member States, parliaments, social partners and civil society. The support of gender equality Ministers is essential: their regular meetings and presidency conferences supported by the Commission are important opportunities for dialogue and monitoring. The European Pact for Gender Equality demonstrates the commitment at the highest political level in the Member States to increase efforts to achieve gender equality in partnership with the Commission.

The planned European Institute for Gender Equality[20] will provide expertise, improving knowledge and heightening visibility on gender equality. The Structural Funds, financial programmes in different policy areas, and the future PROGRESS programme will support the implementation of this Roadmap. The implementation of gender equality methodologies such as gender impact assessment and gender budgeting (the implementation of a gender perspective in budgetary process) will promote gender equality and provide for greater transparency and enhance accountability.

Key actions

The Commission will

- reinforce its structures

- take part, in 2007, in the setting up of the European Institute for Gender Equality

- monitor progress in gender equality in the human resources policy in the Commission and present, in 2007, a Communication on the achievement of targets set for its Committees and Expert Groups[21]; facilitate training on gender equality for its staff, including management and staff working in external and development cooperation fields

- reinforce networking and support social dialogue

- create in 2006 an EU network of Gender Equality Bodies set up in compliance with Directive 2002/73

- reinforce EU-level cooperation with NGOs, including dialogue with women's organisations and with other civil society organisations

- encourage and support the work of Social Partners on gender equality at both cross-industry and sectoral levels

- support gender impact assessment and gender budgeting

- reinforce the implementation of a gender perspective in the impact assessment[22] of Community policies and legislation and explore the possibilities of developing gender budgeting at EU level, particularly in the Structural Funds within the possibilities of the shared management

- encourage gender budgeting at local, regional and national level, including through exchange of best practices

- reinforce the effectiveness of legislation

- review the existing EU gender equality legislation not included in the 2005 recast exercise[23] with a view to updating, modernising and recasting where necessary

- monitor implementation and enforcement of EU gender equality legislation

- inform EU citizens on their gender equality rights through the "Your Europe[24]" portal and the Citizens' Signpost Service[25]

Monitoring Progress

Accountability is central to effective governance. The Commission will monitor and assess this Roadmap. Its annual Work programme for the implementation of gender mainstreaming is an effective tool which will be maintained and adapted for the follow-up of this Roadmap.

The Commission will

- monitor progress in gender equality and provide orientation on gender mainstreaming through its annual Report on equality between women and men and follow up the implementation of the Roadmap through its annual Work programme

- ensure political follow-up through the meetings of Gender Equality Ministers and the Group of Commissioners on Fundamental Rights and Equal Opportunities. The Commission Inter-Service Group on Gender Mainstreaming will support the Group of Commissioners, contribute to the preparation of the annual Work programme and link with other groups working on gender equality[26]

- further develop indicators where necessary[27]; define a new composite Gender Equality Index in 2007; develop, by 2010 and together with Member States, new indicators for the 12 critical areas of the BPfA; support the development of EU comparable data on gender equality and statistics broken down by sex

- present a report on the state of implementation of the Roadmap in 2008 and carry out, in 2010, an evaluation of the Roadmap and propose appropriate follow-up

ANNEX I: Indicators for monitoring progress on the Roadmap

The non-exhaustive list below presents indicators that will be used to monitor progress towards gender equality in the policy areas identified in the Roadmap. They have been selected for their relevance to describe the situation of gender equality in the different areas, also taking into account the availability of EU-comparable data.

The majority of these indicators exist already and are used to monitor progress in EU processes, in particular in the Strategy for growth and jobs. They are also used in the annual Report on equality between women and men that the Commission presents to the Spring European Summit.

In some areas, work is in progress either to develop indicators or to develop comparable data at EU level. This work is being done in cooperation with Member States and Eurostat.

Moreover, Member States, in cooperation with the Commission, have developed indicators for the follow-up of the 12 critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action. In 2005, the 10 th anniversary of the Platform, Member States committed themselves to continue to develop indicators in the missing areas.

The 12 critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action are: Women and Poverty; Education and Training of Women; Women and Health; Violence against Women; Women and Armed Conflict; Women and the Economy; Women in Power and Decision Making; Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women; Human Rights of Women; Women and the Media; Women and Environment; The Girl Child

1. Achieving equal economic independence for women and men

1.1 Reaching the Lisbon employment targets and promotion of women's employment

- Employment rates (women, men and gap) - Eurostat

- Employment rates of older workers 55-64 (women, men and gap) - Eurostat

- Unemployment rates (women, men and gap) – Eurostat

1.2 Eliminating the gender pay gap

- Gender pay gap: Difference between men's and women's average gross hourly earnings as a percentage of men's average gross hourly earnings Eurostat: to be further developed

(the population consists of all paid employees aged 16-64 that are "at work 15+ hours per week – This is an unadjusted gender pay gap, therefore not adjusted for individual factors/characteristics such as age, education attainment, occupation, years of professional experience, economic sector of employment )

- Gender pay gap by age and economic sector and level of education (public-private and NACE sectors): to be further developed

- Distribution of employed persons by sex, by sector (NACE) – Eurostat

- Distribution of employed persons by sex, by occupation (ISCO) – Eurostat

1.3 Women entrepreneurs

- Share of self-employed persons in employed population (women, men) – Eurostat

To be further developed

1.4 Gender equality in social protection and the fight against poverty

- At-risk-of-poverty rate (men, women, gap) – Eurostat

- At risk of poverty rate among older people - 65 years and over (men, women, gap) - Eurostat

- At risk of poverty rate among single parent with dependent children - Eurostat

- Pensions : to be further developed

1.5 Recognising the gender dimension in health care

- Healthy life years at birth (men, women, gap) – Eurostat

To be further developed

1.6 Combating multiple discrimination, in particular against immigrant women and ethnic minority women

- Employment rates of non-EU nationals (women, men, gap) – Eurostat

- Pay gap by gender and nationality (EU or non-EU nationals): to be further developed

2. Enhancing reconciliation of work, private and family Life

2.1 Flexible working arrangements for both women and men

- Average hours worked per week by women and men (aged 20-49) with or without children (aged 0-6) – Eurostat

- Employment rates and amount of time (full-time or part-time) worked per week for women and men (aged 20-49), depending on whether they have children under 12 – Eurostat Time-use of women and men : to be further developed

- Share of part-time among employed (women, men and gap) - Eurostat

2.2 Increasing care services

- Percentage of children covered by childcare (for children between 3 years old and the mandatory school age and for children under 3 years of age) - Eurostat

- Share of employees working on a part-time basis because of care of children or other dependents - Eurostat

- Inactive persons willing to work, not searching due to personal or family responsibilities - Eurostat

- Care of elderly persons: to be further developed

- Accessibility, affordability of services, school opening hours and appropriate public transport: to be further developed

2.3 Better reconciliation policies for men

- Parental leave : to be further developed

3. Promoting equal participation of women and men in decision-making

3.1 Women's participation in politics

- Share of women in European institutions (European commission, European Parliament, Agencies of the European Community, Committee of the Regions, Council of the European Union, European Court of Justice, European Court of First Instance, European Court of Auditors, European Ombudsman) – European Commission: Database on women and men in decision-making

- Share of women in national institutions (national parliaments, central administrations –by BEIS type, supreme audit organisations, supreme courts, supreme administrative courts, constitutional courts, general prosecutor) – European Commission: Database on women and men in decision-making

3.2 Women in economic decision-making

- Share of women in European social and economic institutions (European Central Bank, European Investment Bank, European Investment Fund, European Social Partner Organisations, European non-governmental Organisations – by NGO family- ) – European Commission: Database on women and men in decision-making

- Share of women in national economic institutions (daily executive bodies in top 50 publicly quoted companies – by NACE sector-, central banks) – European Commission: Database on women and men in decision-making

- Distribution of managers by sex (ISCO 12 and 13) – Eurostat

3.3 Women in science and technology

- Women and men along a typical academic career - European Commission: Women in Science

- Distribution of full professors by sex (Grade A) - European Commission: Women in Science

- Share of women in leading positions in public sector research: to be further developed

4. Eradicating gender-based violence and trafficking

4.1 Eradication of gender-based violence

- crimes: to be further developed

- victims: to be further developed

4.2 Elimination of trafficking in human beings

- Data on volume and trends of trafficking in each country: to be further developed

5. Eliminating gender stereotypes in society

5.1 Elimination of gender stereotypes in education, training and culture

- Distribution of graduates by sex, by field of study – Eurostat

- Educational attainment (at least upper secondary school) of women and men - Eurostat

- Early school leavers in secondary school (women, men) - Eurostat

- Life-long-learning: Percentage of the population aged 25-64 participating in education and training over the four weeks prior to the survey (women, men) - Eurostat

- stereotypes in culture : to be further developed

5.2 Elimination of gender stereotypes in the labour market

- Distribution of jobs by sex, by sector (NACE) – Eurostat

- Distribution of jobs by sex, by profession (ISCO) - Eurostat

5.3 Elimination of gender stereotypes in the media

To be further developed

6. Promotion of gender equality outside the EU

6.2 Promotion of gender equality in external and development policies

- Follow-up of MDG : to be further developed

- BpfA : to be further developed

ANNEX II: Existing structures at Commission level to promote gender equality

The Group of Commissioners on Fundamental Rights, Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunities was created on the initiative of the President of the Commission, Mr Barroso, in 2005. It succeeds to the Group of Commissioners on equal opportunities which was active since 1996. Its mandate is to drive policy and ensure the coherence of Commission action in the areas of fundamental rights, anti-discrimination, equal opportunities and the social integration of minority groups, and to ensure that gender equality is taken into account in Community policies and actions, in accordance with Article 3§2 of the Treaty. The group is chaired by the President of the Commission. Other members of the group are Commissioners for Justice, Freedom and Security; for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy; for Administration, Audit and Anti-fraud; for Information Society and Media; for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism; for Enlargement; for Development and Humanitarian Aid; for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy; for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. It meets 3-4 times per year and it holds an extraordinary meeting with a focus on gender equality, normally on the 8th of March, on the occasion of the International women's Day. This extraordinary meeting is enlarged to external participants, such as members of the EU Parliament, the Economic and social committee, the Committee of the regions, the Presidency of the EU and representatives of women's organisations

The Inter-service Group on gender equality was created in 1996. It brings together representatives of all Commission services responsible for gender equality in all Directorates Generals. It is chaired by DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities who convenes regular meeting. Its main task is to develop a gender mainstreaming approach in all EC policies and programmes and to contribute to and co-ordinate activities in the framework of the annual work programme on gender equality prepared by the Commission services

The Advisory Committee on equal opportunities for women and men was created in 1981 by a Commission Decision then amended in 1995. (Commission Decision of 19 July 1995 amending Decision 82/43/EEC of 9 December 1981)

The Committee assists the Commission in formulating and implementing the Community's activities aimed at promoting equal opportunities for women and men, and fosters ongoing exchanges of relevant experience, policies and practices between the Member States and the various parties involved. It is formed by one representative per Member State from ministries or government departments responsible for promoting equal opportunities; one representative per Member State from national committees or bodies having specific responsibility for equal opportunities between women and men; five members representing employers' organizations at Community level; five members representing workers' organizations at Community level. Two representatives of the European Women's Lobby shall attend meetings of the Committee as observers. Representatives of international and professional organizations and other associations making duly substantiated requests to the Commission may be given observer status. The Committee meets normally twice per year.

The High Level Group on gender mainstreaming is an informal group created in 2001 following a commitment made by the Commission in its 5th Framework strategy on gender equality (COM(2000) 335 final) and the political support of EU gender equality ministers. This is an informal group made by high level representatives responsible for gender mainstreaming at national level. It is chaired by the Commission who convenes regular meetings twice per year, in close collaboration with the Presidency. Among its main tasks, the Group support presidencies in identifying policy areas and topics relevant to address during presidencies in order to achieve gender equality. The Group is also the main forum for planning the strategic follow-up of the Beijing Platform for action, including the development of indicators. Since 2003 the Group also assists the Commission in the preparation of the Report on Equality between women and men to the European Council.

The High Level Group on gender mainstreaming in the Structural Funds is an informal group created in 2004 made by high level representatives responsible for Structural Funds at national level in the Member States. Candidate countries are given the status of observers. It is chaired by the Commission who convenes at least one meeting per year. The mandate of this group expires end of 2006 but Commission and Member States can decide to continue its works after this date. The HLG acts as a network to give input on gender mainstreaming to the authorities managing Structural Funds implementation. It is also a forum to exchange best practice and experience of implementing gender mainstreaming in the structural funds at national level. It can also provide input into the discussion on the future of the structural funds.

The Advisory Committee on women and rural areas was created in 1998. It is made by representatives of socio-economic organisations (agricultural producers, trade, consumers, the European Women Lobby and workers). The Commission convenes meetings once or twice per year. Its aim is to provide for exchange of views and advice between the European Commission and the European socio-economic sectors on the rural development policy and specifically on its gender aspects.

The informal Group of Experts on Gender Equality in development cooperation met for the first time in 1999. It is formed by Member States' gender experts and chaired by the Commission that convenes meetings annually. Its aim is to discuss policy developments in relation to gender and development in the context of EU and international major events.

The Helsinki Group on Women and Science The Helsinki Group on Women and Science was established in 1999. It consists of national representatives from all the EU Member States, Bulgaria, Romania, Iceland, Israel, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

The Group aims to promote the participation and equality of women in the sciences on a Europe-wide basis. It provides an important forum for dialogue about national policies. Recognising the value of networking and mutual support among women scientists, the group also helps explore the ways in which the potential, skills and expertise of women could best be secured, and for sharing and comparing experiences.

The Helsinki Group also helps the Commission build a clear picture of the situation on the ground at the national level. It has, in particular, appointed national statistical correspondents to help the Commission gather and compile sex-disaggregated statistics and build gender-sensitive indicators.

The European Network to Promote Women's Entrepreneurship (WES) (see: http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/entrepreneurship/craft/craft-women/wes.htm) was created in 2000. It is composed of representatives from the national governments and institutions responsible for the promotion of female entrepreneurship in 27 countries from the EU, EEA and candidate countries . The Commission convenes meetings with WES twice a year which are aimed at exchanging information and good practices in the promotion of female entrepreneurship. Some members of the network have also participated in common European projects.

The Expert Group on Trafficking in Human Beings is a consultative group that has been set up in 2003 and consists of 20 persons appointed as independent experts. The Commission pay consults the experts group on any matter relating to trafficking in human beings. The Experts Groups shall issue opinions or reports to the Commission at the latter's request or on its own initiative, taking into due consideration the recommendations set out in the Brussels Declaration.

The informal Network of gender focal points is formed by representatives of Directorates General of the Commission dealing with external relations and development cooperation as well as representatives of EC delegations

The Network of focal points on equal opportunities was set up in 2004 and is formed by representatives of all Directorates General of the Commission in charge of human resources. It aims at ensuring a proper implementation of the Fourth Action Programme for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men at the European Commission, therefore contributing to the respect of gender equality in the human resources policy of the Commission.

ANNEX III: Equal Opportunities policy between men and women at the European Commission

Achievements, challenges and existing obstacles to incorporating equality between men and women into the human resource management policies of the Commission

The policy of equal opportunities between female and male staff has been in place in the Commission since 1988. The Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Communities have, since 1 May 2004, prohibited discrimination on the basis of the sex, as well as for other reasons, and specifically provide for measures and actions to promote equal opportunities between men and women (Article 1d). This legal framework makes it possible to take actions to incorporate gender equality into various aspects of the management of human resources.

Since 1995, the Commission had been setting annual objectives for the recruitment and appointment of women to the Category A posts, with the objective of reaching parity in the long term. The objectives laid down for 2005 were 20% for senior management, 30% for middle management and 50% for non-management administrator posts.

In addition, the 4th Action Programme for Equal Opportunities between women and men in the European Commission was adopted on 28th April 2004 (SEC (2004) 447/5). It covers the period 2004-2008 and schedules, in particular, measures aimed at improving the male/female balance among the staff, awareness-raising campaigns and measures to improve the reconciliation of professional/private life. The implementation of this Programme was mainly decentralised to the Directorates-General but was also the subject of a follow-up and a political guidance by the Directorate-General for Personnel and Administration

The first implementation report, relating to 2004, was adopted by the Commission on 23rd November 2005 (SEC (2005) 1492/3). Among other things, it showed that - despite the clear improvements achieved during the last ten years - women continued to be under-represented in 2004 in the category of the Administrators (31.8%), and particularly in middle management (18, 3%) and senior management (12.8%) and that the recruitment targets were not achieved. However, the concrete measures included in the 4th Action Programme have started to bear fruit, as the next implementation report for 2005 will show (presentation envisaged in September 2006).

Principal policy initiatives and deadlines for the period concerned (2007 – 2010)

- Adoption of the Annual Implementation Reports of the 4th Action Programme and development of monitoring and evaluation indicators in this context (2005 to 2008);

- External evaluation of the 4th Action Programme in 2008 and formulation of recommendations for the future;

- Adoption of a 5th Action Programme for the period 2009 – 2013;

- Adoption of annual targets for the recruitment and appointment of women to management posts and other posts at A*/AD level in the Commission;

- Continuation and improvement of awareness-raising campaigns and training, in particular within the framework of management training.

[1] COM(2000) 335

[2] Unadjusted gap

[3] COM(2005)706

[4] See Community Strategic Guidelines on cohesion policy, COM(2005) 0299

[5] COM(2005)389

[6] COM(2005)669

[7] Dir 2004/113/EC

[8] The provision of childcare by 2010 to at least 90 % of children between 3 years old and the mandatory school age and at least 33 % of children under 3 years of age

[9] Follow-up of COM(2005)94

[10] Council Conclusions 18-04-05

[11] COM(2005)514

[12] OJ C 311, 9/12/05, p.1.

[13] Dir. 2004/81/EC

[14] COM(2005)494

[15] Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, including Kosovo. See also COM(2005)561

[16] Council of 22.11.2005.

[17] COM(2005)489

[18] Annex III

[19] Annex II

[20] COM(2005) 81

[21] 2000/407/EC

[22] SEC(2005) 791

[23] COM(2004)279

[24] http://europa.eu.in/tyoureurope/nav/fr/citizens/home.html

[25] http://europa.eu.int/citizensrights/signpost/front_end/index_fr.htm

[26] Annex II

[27] Annex I