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.
The world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Goals but women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world. Many targets in the context of SDG 5 are very general and do not go beyond EU primary law on gender equality. Nevertheless, others (indicated in bold letters) are highly relevant and directly reflect important gender equality objectives for the EU Funds:
5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
5.4 Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate.
5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life.
5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
5.A Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.
5.B Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.
5.C Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.