Treatment of one individual or group of individuals in a manner that is likely to lead to greater benefits, access, rights, opportunities or status than those of another individual or group of individuals. 

Additional notes and information

Preferential treatment as regards women and men requires the adoption of specific measures not considered discriminatory and involving explicit benefits (preferences) for one of the sexes. Such measures are intended to address disadvantaged situations and remove barriers to gender equality. The Court of Justice of the European Union, in the Kalanke case, used the terms ‘automatic’ priorities and ‘absolute and unconditional’ priorities.


Based on European Commission (2012). Positive Action Measures to Ensure Full Equality in Practice between Men and Women, including on Company Boards. European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Gender Equality.