The EU and its Member States have made considerable progress towards the development and implementation of gender equality policies. However, many challenges still hinder the concrete realisation of gender equality in the EU. Over the past years, a rise of highly coordinated, well-funded organised ‘anti-gender movements’ has equally threatened the achievement of gender equality goals and stood in the way of tackling these challenges. 

These movements not only fuel an overall rise in intolerance and hate (against women and their attained rights and against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) people), but they also fuel support for regressive laws and policies running against international and EU human rights standards and commitments on gender equality and non-discrimination, on the fight against gender-based violence and on the promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Against this background, this paper provides a synthetic overview of the evolving EU’s policy and legal approach to gender equality to date, with a view to inform a fact-based discussion on how to support the concrete realisation of gender equality in all of its dimensions across the EU.