The Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU is drawing to a close with flying colours in the area of gender equality, having promoted gender mainstreaming across the board of EU policies. Gender mainstreaming had been identified as one of the main priorities of the Greek Presidency in the field of gender equality, as set by the competent Secretariat General for Gender Equality at the beginning of the Greek semester and the accomplishment could be considered a best practice to be followed by future Presidencies.
What is gender mainstreaming?
According to a Council of Europe definition (1998), “Gender mainstreaming is the (re)organisation, improvement, development and evaluation of policy processes, so that a gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies, at all levels and at all stages, by the actors normally involved in policymaking.”
In the EU, gender mainstreaming is used to integrate gender concerns into all policies and programmes of the European Union institutions and Member States, without however abandoning positive actions for women.
Greek presidency promotes gender mainstreaming
For the first time, the Greek Presidency, during its semester, managed to introduce the principle of gender mainstreaming in different ministerial Councils (apart from the usual EPSCO Council). In particular, the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (EYCS) Council meeting of 20-21 May 2014 adopted for the first time “Conclusions on gender equality in sport”.
Also for the first time, the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council meeting of 5-6 June, adopted conclusions on preventing and combating all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation.
The conclusions were drafted following the publication of an EU-wide survey carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) recommending actions to tackle violence against women. The survey entitled “Violence against women across the EU: Abuse at home, work, in public and online”, had been presented at a conference co-hosted by the Greek Presidency on 5 March 2014, in Brussels.
In addition, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council of 19-20 June adopted conclusions on “Women and the economy: Economic independence from the perspective of part time work and self-employment”. The conclusions were prepared by the Greek Presidency on the basis of a European Institute of Gender Equality (EIGE) report which analyses, from a gender equality perspective, women and men’s participation in the labour force in the EU-28, by examining part-time work and self-employment, areas where women are over- and under-represented, respectively. On the basis of the analysis, the report proposes additional indicators for the monitoring of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) Area F and its strategic objective F1 in the EU-28.