Commission Staff Working Document, Brüssel 2010

Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015


Equality between women and men is a fundamental right and a common value of the EU. Since 1957, the EC Treaty has provided a legal basis for policy and action on gender equality.

Over the years a comprehensive legislative framework for promoting gender equality has been created, entailing the adoption of thirteen Directives in the field of equal treatment covering access to work, goods and services, training, promotion and working conditions including equal pay and social security benefits.

As to its policy approach, since 1996 the Commission has followed a dual approach to gender equality, namely specific actions plus gender mainstreaming.

The first comprehensive policy framework was adopted in 20002 and was followed in 2006 by the Roadmap for equality between women and men3. The Roadmap identified key actions in six priority areas4 for the period 2006-2010, and set out ways to improve governance of gender equality policies. It identified the main instruments needed to support gender equality in Community policies, including legislation, policy coordination, financial programmes, partnership and social and civil dialogue.

The Commission which took office in 2010 affirmed its commitment to equality between women and men by adopting a ‘Women’s Charter’5, which identifies five priority areas that will underpin actions during this Commission’s term of office.

The Strategy for the period 2010-20156 implements the Women's Charter. This background document provides the context, with an overview of the situation, an assessment of the impact of the Roadmap and a specific assessment of the factors surrounding the gender pay gap, concluding with the input which the Commission gathered in preparing the new Strategy.

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