ABOUT THIS SECTOR
Gender Equality and empowerment of women and girls are fundamental human rights. Both are vital for economic growth, prosperity and competitiveness. Gender equality is an essential precondition for equitable and inclusive sustainable development, which will not take place if half of the world’s population is left behind. Despite the progress made, the level of achievement of gender equality has been uneven across regions and within countries. Worldwide, girls and women continue to be systematically left behind and discriminated against and persistent violations of their rights occur on a daily basis.
The European Union firmly supports gender equality and empowerment of women worldwide, working towards the removal of the obstacles as legislation, social norms and gender stereotypes to ensure that we give voice and participation to increase girls’ and women’s agency in social, economic, political and civil life.
The crucial significance of gender in EU development policies is recognized in various policy documents. The EU Strategic engagement for gender equality" highlights as one of its five thematic priority areas the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights across the world. Furthermore, in the new European Consensus on Development the promotion of women's rights and the empowerment of women and girls and their protections will be a priority across all areas of actions.
In October 2015 the EU adopted the new Gender Action Plan: Transforming Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations (2016-2020).