Eradicating gender-based violence against women is a priority of the European Union (EU) and its Member States. This commitment is affirmed in the main EU gender equality policy documents, most recently by the EU signing the leading regional legal instrument on gender-based violence: the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention).
Gender inequalities are both the cause and enabling context of violence against women. Eliminating it is a profound, but also evolving, political challenge that requires addressing the unequal social, political and economic power held by women and men.
Over the past decade, progress towards gender equality in the EU has been rather slow. With an average Gender Equality Index score of 66.2 out of 100 in 2015, the EU has large room for improvement. In nearly all Member States, the notable driver of progress has been a better balance of women and men in decision-making.
Violence against women is included in the Gender Equality Index as a satellite domain. It means that the score for violence does not impact the final score of the Gender Equality Index. However, the violence dimension needs to be considered alongside other domains, as violence against women reflects persisting inequalities in the fields of work, health, money, power, education and time use.