Legal, social and cultural situation in which sex and/or gender determine different rights and dignity for women and men, which are reflected in their unequal access to or enjoyment of rights, as well as the assumption of stereotyped social and cultural roles. 

Additional notes and information

These affect their status in all areas of life in society, whether public or private, in the family or the labour market, in economic or political life, in power and decision-making, as well as in social gender relations. In virtually all societies, women are in an inferior position to men.


(1) Independent expert;

(2) European Commission (2004). Toolkit on Mainstreaming Gender Equality in EC Development Cooperation: Section 1: Handbook on Concepts and Methods for Mainstreaming Gender Equality. Available at…