The principle of gender mainstreaming consists of taking systematic account of the differences between the conditions, situations and needs of women and men in all Community policies and actions. The gender impact assessment is one of the methods for gender mainstreaming. It should be used in the very early stage of any policymaking, i.e. when designing it. The aim is to achieve a significant impact not only on the policy design but also on its planning, in order to ensure adequate equality outcomes.