Gender mainstreaming is strongly embedded in policy in Luxembourg as a way to ensure that gender equality is promoted. The history of gender equality and mainstreaming in Luxembourg is closely linked to United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) instruments to promote gender equality. The influence of the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing was fundamental, in that the National Action Plan on Equality Between Women and Men – comprising gender-specific actions and gender-mainstreaming measures – complements the fifth Luxembourg CEDAW report. On the other hand, the transposition of EU directives has been the main instrument to introduce gender equality into Luxemburg’s domestic legislation.
The agency dedicated to gender equality and endorsing gender mainstreaming is the Ministry for Equal Opportunities, established in 2005 (from 1995 to 2005 it was known as the Ministry for the Promotion of Women). It also manages an Interministerial Committee for Gender Equality, made up of members of each ministry, with a coordination role for gender-equality policies. Since 2005, gender-competence cells have been put in place and are tasked with internally implementing gender-equality policies within the policy areas of each ministry.
Laws and policies
Luxemburg’s equality domestic legislation is mainly linked to the transposition of EU directives. This is the case of the Equality Treatment Act 2006, which transposed EU Directives 2000/43 and 2000/78 on employment equality and racial equality into national legislation. It also created the independent Centre for Equal Treatment, whose purpose is to promote, analyse and monitor equal treatment between all individuals without discrimination on the basis, inter alia, of sex.
Since July 2006, Luxembourg’s constitution has affirmed that women and men are equal in terms of rights and duties and that the state promotes the elimination of any obstacles in the field of equality between women and men. Even if positive actions did previously exist, the adoption of this provision provided a legal basis for those actions.
The influence of the CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) was fundamental for the development of national equality policies: the National Action Plan on Equality between Women and Men complements the fifth Luxembourg CEDAW report and includes the 12 critical areas of concern identified by the BPfA. The National Action Plan refers to gender mainstreaming as a means of political action to systematically integrate the needs, conditions and priorities of women and men in all policies.
Methods and tools
A variety of methods are being deployed, with a strong focus on training as a key mechanism for integrating gender into policies. The need for gender capacity-building is stated explicitly in law, and since 2011 gender training for new civil servants at state and local level has been organised systematically. Other methods are also in place such as gender impact assessment, and evaluation of the National Action Plan for Gender Equality.