The upcoming work on equality between women and men - presented by Commissioner Viviane Reding last Tuesday 21st September - keeps gender equality on the EU agenda. The aims are to make better use of women's potential, thereby contributing to the EU's overall economic and social goals.

“We believe that the Commission's new strategy will lead to an increase in the awareness about gender equality and we are in the process of delivering a range of tools in support of this. These include various studies on gender equality which will ultimately form the basis for the creation of an EU Gender Index. The Index will provide Member States and the EU Institutions with the tools to measure progress with gender equality - further strengthening the Commission's new strategy”, said Virginija Langbakk, Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality, in her first comments.

In its communication: “Strategy for equality between women and men - 2010-2015”, the European Commission spells out five priorities: the economy and labour market; equal pay; equality in senior positions; tackling gender violence; and promoting equality beyond the EU.

The Institute is expected to assist the European Commission and the Member States by producing evidence-based ground for efficient policy-making. Its tasks are to collect and analyse comparable data on gender issues, to develop methodological tools, in particular for the integration of the gender dimension in all policy areas, to facilitate the exchange of best practices and dialogue among stakeholders, and to raise awareness among EU citizens.

As part of its ongoing work programme, the Institute will help the European Commission and the Member States to report on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, improve the existing indictors within the areas of concern and to develop further indicators where needed (such as Women and the Environment and Women and Media).

The strategy builds on the principles set out in the Commission's Women's Charter, translating them into specific measures which range from getting more women into company boardrooms to tackling gender-based violence.

Further reading

The European Institute for Gender Equality is a European agency created to support the Member States and the EU in their efforts to promote gender equality, to fight sexual discrimination and to raise awareness about gender issues.