Equality between Women and Men
Gender equality policy within the ESF is regulated and financed by treaties, regulations and directives as well as within the framework of the structural policy of the European Union and national legislations.
Article 7 of the ESF Regulation (EU) No. 1304/2013 stipulates that equality between men and women is to be taken into account and promoted throughout the preparation and implementation of ESF measures; the sustainable participation of women in employment must be increased and their professional progress must be improved, thus combating the feminisation of poverty. Furthermore, gender-based segregation must be reduced, gender stereotypes must be combated in the labour market and in general, education as well as vocational training, the reconciliation of work and personal life for all as well as the equal sharing of care responsibilities between women and men must be promoted.
Significant documents and legal provisions within the context of the EU gender equality policy are the European Pact for Gender Equality (2011–2020) and the Strategy for Equality between Women and Men (2010–2015), which include central gender equality policy objectives and requirements concerning important ESF fields of intervention and core objectives, such as employment and education policy.
In Germany, the gender equality policy is based on Article 3, Section (2) of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany: “Men and women shall have equal rights. The state shall promote the actual implementation of equal rights for women and men and take steps to eliminate disadvantages that now exist.” This formulation points to the need to take action in respect of continuing gender inequalities which were specified in the first gender equality report of Germany in 2011 New Pathways – Equal Opportunities Gender Equality over Women’s and Men’s Life Courses. This report has special significance for the gender equality policy in Germany in several respects: for the first time the guiding principle of the life course perspective is comprehensively introduced and presented as a principle for equality policy perspectives for all policy areas.
The German Federal Operational Programme formulates clear objectives concerning equality of women and men which address, for instance, the increase in employment securing a livelihood and the economic independence of women, a better reconciliation of work and personal life, the removal of gender-specific stereotypes in career choice and the increase of the share of women in decision making positions. These objectives are implemented with the support of specific actions and the gender mainstreaming strategy and are monitored by (the ESF’s own) controlling tools, including Gender Budgeting, which enables an optimisation of programme controlling from a gender perspective.