This page makes a reference to the United Kingdom as a member of the European Union. It was published before the UK's withdrawal from the European Union on the 31 January 2020. 

Governmental gender equality bodies

A governmental gender equality body is a governmental body whose purpose is to design, coordinate and implement government policies for gender equality and is normally located in the government hierarchy. The existence and permanence of such a structure is a major indicator of the governmental responsibility in promoting gender equality. The governmental gender equality body should be located at the highest possible level of government, and the responsibility for promoting gender equality policies should be vested at the highest possible level of government, such as the level of a cabinet minister.

Legal and policy framework for gender mainstreaming at the national level

A successful implementation of the gender mainstreaming strategy requires well formulated gender mainstreaming objectives and targets embedded in a supportive legal and political framework, as well as a clear implementation Strategy/Plan.

Structures for gender mainstreaming at the ministerial level

Implementing gender mainstreaming requires structures of governmental bodies and officials responsible for gender mainstreaming. Such structures might be units/departments/working groups specifically dedicated to gender mainstreaming within each ministry, gender focal points in the ministries (contact persons for gender mainstreaming) and/or an inter‑ministerial group (a coordinating body or a network of contact persons).

Other structures

Addressing discrimination based on sex and promoting equal treatment between women and men in accordance with EU directives are tasks that have been assigned to specific bodies in all 28 EU Member States. The independent anti‑discrimination bodies complement the work of the governmental gender equality bodies by virtue of their mandate to prevent the violation of rights and to give legal protection.

All Member States have institutional mechanisms for gender equality, but to ensure their effective functioning and performance, it is important to involve in the consultation process relevant branches of civil society, such as centres for women’s studies and research, academic and educational institutions, non‑governmental organisations (especially women’s organisations) and other actors.

The regional structures

To some extent, the gender mainstreaming framework at the regional level tends to be organised similarly to the national level: existence of legal and political arrangements; existence of a governmental gender equality body; existence of units with a gender mainstreaming mandate in the regional ministries; and a regional coordination structure for the implementation of gender equality policies.


The present overview of the framework for the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the 28 EU Member States is assessed on the basis of selected aspects of Indicators 1 and 3 of the Council of the European Union. These indicators measure the attainment of some of the key objectives of Beijing Platform for Action's critical area 'H - Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women'. Learn more about the EU indicators for the Beijing Platform for Action area H