The European Union (EU) played, and still plays, a key role in initiating and contributing to gender-mainstreaming policies in Lithuania. Gender mainstreaming started to be addressed at the national level when Lithuania was invited to enter negotiations to join the EU in 1999. All national documents had to meet EU standards and requirements. There was a political will to enter the EU and adapt all policies in line with the required criteria. For instance, there was a need for a Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, so it was drafted and integrated into the Lithuanian legal system, and the Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson was established in 1999.
Efforts to promote gender mainstreaming have been formalised in important policy documents, such as the national programmes on equal opportunities for women and men, and the action plans for the implementation of national programmes.