Tool 3: Operationalising gender equality in policy objectives (in Partnership Agreements) and specific objectives/measures (in Operational Programmes)

This tool can be used by Member States when developing Partnership Agreements (PAs), and by managing authorities at the national and sub-national levels when developing Operational Programmes (OPs), to promote equality between women and men in all their diversity across the EU. This tool will allow you to:

  • identify aspects of your chosen policy objectives that affect gender equality (at the PA level);
  • define specific aspects of your chosen policy objectives to advance gender equality (at the PA level);
  • justify selected aspects;
  • align these aspects with specific objectives/measures in your OPs to advance gender equality at the national or sub-national level (at the OP level); and
  • check whether or not EU regulatory and policy commitments on gender equality are well integrated in PAs and OPs.

Article 17 of the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) defines the content of ESF+, ERDF, Cohesion Fund and EMFF programmes, specifying that:

Each programme shall set out a strategy for the programme's contribution to the policy objectives.
A programme shall consist of priorities. Each priority shall correspond to a single policy objective or to technical assistance. A priority corresponding to a policy objective shall consist of one or more specific objectives. More than one priority may correspond to the same policy objective.

These policy objectives are:

  • a smarter Europe – innovative and smart economic transformation;
  • a greener, low-carbon Europe;
  • a more connected Europe – mobility and regional ICT connectivity;
  • a more social Europe – implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights;
  • a Europe closer to its citizens – the sustainable, integrated development of urban, rural and coastal areas through local initiatives.

For the EAFRD, priorities of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are the basis for programming. Article 39 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union sets out its objectives:

  • increasing agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimal utilisation of the factors of production, particularly labour;
  • ensuring a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture;
  • stabilising markets;
  • ensuring the availability of supplies;
  • ensuring that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.

At first glance, not all of these objectives may appear relevant to gender equality. However, gender equality is part and parcel of every sphere of life and every objective – there is no such thing as a gender neutral objective.

Moreover, some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN Agenda 2030 are in line with EU cohesion policies and therefore relevant to the EU Funds as well. SDG 5 is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, and includes nine targets, of which some are highly relevant and directly reflect important gender equality objectives for the EU Funds.