European Union

The European Union's Equal Futures Partnership Commitments

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 European Commission's Strategy for equality between women and men (2010-2015), the Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019 (adopted in December 2015), as well as the European Union (EU) Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019), provide the framework for EU engagement on improving women's political empowerment both within the European Union and globally.

The Strategic engagement focuses on the following five priority areas:

Increasing female labour market participation and equal economic independence;

Reducing the gender pay, earnings and pension gaps and thus fighting poverty among women;

Promoting equality between women and men in decision-making;

Combating gender-based violence and protecting and supporting victims;

Promoting gender equality and women's rights across the world.


The Strategic engagement sets out objectives in each of these priority areas and identifies more than 30 concrete actions. It reaffirms commitment to gender mainstreaming: A gender equality perspective will be integrated into all EU policies as well as into EU funding programmes. The Strategic engagement also supports the implementation of the gender equality dimension in the Europe 2020 Strategy.

In the context of the EU Strategic Framework and Action plan on Human Rigthts and Democracy 2015-2019, the EU renewed its commitment to promote gender equality, women’s rights, empowerment and participation of women and girls. It therefore commits itself to:  

  1. Step up the implementation of obligations and commitments to women’s rights made in CEDAW, under the Beijing Platform for Action, in the Cairo Declaration on Population & Development and in the post-2015 development agenda.
  2. Prioritise actions targeting, inter alia the protection of physical and psychological integrity of women and girls through activities which help protect women's human rights and freedom from violence with special attention to ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Child Early and Forced Marriage, gender based and sexual violence in conflict; their economic, social and cultural rights and their voice and participation in social and political fora; develop and implement a successor of the EU Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development Cooperation 2010 - 2015 (GAP).
  3. Promote and strengthen gender equality and women's empowerment, including through a new strategy on equal opportunities for women and men and increase accountability, in coherence with the overall EU gender equality policy.