Technical cooperation on the full and effective participation of women in decision-making and in public life and on the elimination of violence, with a view to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls
Under international human rights law States have the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of all women of all ages, including older women and girls, to participate in all spheres of social, economic, political and public life, at all levels. This is crucial to achieve gender equality. It is a precondition for a functioning democracy and for sustainable development.
Notwithstanding progress in many areas, significant obstacles remain. These include deep-rooted patriarchal gender stereotypes, and negative social and cultural norms, as well as discriminatory legislation that belittle women’s and girls’ contribution to society and confine their role to the private sphere. Women’s full equal, effective and meaningful participation also requires effective measures to overcome the de facto segregation of their political participation into some specific sectors, which are stereotypically associated with their gender roles. The EU therefore underscores that the removal of institutional and structural constraints, discriminatory laws, and cultural and attitudinal barriers remain central for real progress to be made.
Eliminating and ensuring accountability for all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual and gender based violence and intimate partner violence, in both public and private life, online as well as offline, remains a top priority for the EU. The Spotlight Initiative, our partnership program with the UN, is one of the biggest investments ever made to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and already shows impressive results.
The EU’s external action, including development cooperation and technical assistance is human rights- based and aims to contribute to a world where all women and girls can thrive, lead and be free without discrimination of any kind. We put equality at the core of all EU policies and initiatives, including for the green and digital transition and we are ensuring that all women’s and girls’ rights remain at the heart of any crisis solution. We will continue to work for stronger global norms and standards on gender equality, gender-responsive laws, policies and institutions and access to services for survivors of all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, including sexual and reproductive health-care services. The EU also takes note of the efforts of the Generation Equality Forum in this regard.
Women’s increased leadership, governance and participation in public life is another key area in our development programming. The EU promotes actions to tackle vertical and horizontal segregation in public administration and promote equal representation of women at highest levels. Availability of relevant, transparent and disagregated data on women’s participation at all different levels of society is crucial in this regard.
Promoting gender equality in political life is not just an obligation of States under international human rights law, but also crucial with view of making sure that decisions are credible, legitimate and more sustainable. What steps should be taken to ensure that our efforts to promote gender equality also address age-based discrimination and barriers faced by girls and young women?