On June 20 - 21, 2010 – Vilnius, Lithuania will bear witness to the official opening of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). An open-air public concert at the main square of the city's Town Hall will open the two-day event beginning Sunday (20 June). During this concert, a competition for the creation of the Institute's main logo will be launched.

The conference “Equality between women and men, progress, challenges and best practices” will take place the following day (21 June). Guests will include high-level representatives from across the EU, who will address the issues of gender equality.

EIGE Director Virginija Langbakk said: "Humankind has always depended on the co-existence of women and men in order to initiate and sustain progress. Historically, society's norms and values have placed women and men into stereotypical boxes. This has limited their possibilities to participate on an equal footing in social and economic development and in the fair distribution of resources. Today the women and men of Europe have a formal right to be equal but many gaps are still evident. They are ignored or not visible, there is no unanimous system to monitor the situation. There is a lack of coordination for collecting and sharing best practices. The European Institute for Gender Equality has been established to gather and concentrate expertise and to assist Europe in the promotion of real equality between women and men."

On Sunday evening, EIGE will officially present itself to the public at an open-air concert where locals can enjoy music by popular Lithuanian bands. During the concert a competition inviting EU citizens to design the Institute's main logo will be launched by Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding encouraging talented individuals to give gender equality a logo!

Key conference speakers will include: European Commission Vice-President and Gender Equality Commissioner Viviane Reding, President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė and Chair of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) at the European Parliament Eva-Britt Svensson.

The Institute will provide a platform for discussion on a series of topics within the field of gender equality to analyse the challenges ahead, the progress achieved as well as share best practices. Conference participants will include diplomats, members of the European Parliament, stakeholders, high-ranking Lithuanian officials and civil society organisations amongst others.

For further enquiries, please consult the conference agenda or contact:

George Kyriacou, Communications Officer, European Institute for Gender Equality