France // Laws and Policies

Transversal policy documents have been produced since the mid-2000s in a number of policy domains, including gender equality, and annexed to the LOLF. Produced with contributions from relevant ministries, these documents collate all programmes and policy actions related to gender equality, which are then integrated into government priorities.

Increased attention has been paid to cross-sectorial and/or interministerial work in policy documents, providing institutions with more detailed guidelines for the design of gender-equality action plans, both at national and regional level. This is the case of the ‘Gender’ Strategic Orientation Document (2007), the most comprehensive strategic document ever produced by public authorities to support gender mainstreaming, although its application is limited to international development policies. Not only does it provide an updated definition of gender mainstreaming and related concepts (including gender budgeting), it also offers a detailed framing of this approach and its implementation in the field of development policies. More recently, the national framework for tackling gender inequalities in every policy field has been provided by the interministerial action plan, which was adopted by the Interministerial Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in November 2012. Since the same year, following the re-establishment of a Women’s Rights Ministry, the adoption of a gender-equality action plan by each ministry has become compulsory. A specific reference to gender mainstreaming is contained in the first article of the 2014 Act on Equality between Men and Women (see above).

At regional level, the Delegations for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality play a proactive role in mainstreaming gender in regional policies through the Regional Gender-Equality Strategic Plans.

Gender-equality policy arrangements vary widely across regions. The most recent policy development at the regional level regarding the implementation of gender mainstreaming is a governmental notice issued by the General Directorate for Social Inclusion in 2011. It provides a comprehensive framework for the adoption of Regional Strategic Gender-Equality Plans, as part of an initiative co-funded by the EU through the PROGRESS programme. The ultimate goal of these plans is to ‘establish a long-lasting and homogenous system covering the whole territory, and mobilise all actors to fully integrate gender into public policies’. These plans must be twofold, and address (1) gender equality in economic, professional, political and social life, and (2) gender-based violence. This institutional framing of regional plans also specifies the monitoring structure for their implementation, making regional prefects accountable, and also involving delegates at departmental level. Additionally, evaluation procedures are also addressed, emphasising gender mainstreaming as a goal.

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