Press Releases EU gender equality ministers discuss how to keep gender policy central to the future EU institutional setting and actions

EU gender equality ministers discuss how to keep gender policy central to the future EU institutional setting and actions

On 27 February 2024, the EU gender equality ministers have met in Brussels to look back at the series of achievements of the current term of the European Parliament and Commission and lay ground for the mandate of the next Parliament and Commission.

The Belgian Secretary of State for Gender Equality, Equal Opportunities and Diversity Marie-Colline Leroy, chaired the informal ministerial meeting, held at the Egmont Palace in Brussels in the framework of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU.

Belgian State Secretary for Gender Equality Leroy
“We should be proud of what has already been achieved, but the work of creating a true Union of Equality is not over. Let’s use the momentum of the new legislature to make the European Union a place where everyone has an equal chance to thrive, be healthy and contribute to society”

In the margins of the meeting, the Gender Equality Ministers of the trio of Member States holding consecutively the Presidency of the Council of the EU (i.e. Spain, Belgium and Hungary) officially signed the Joint Declaration on Gender Equality adopted at the beginning of the Spanish Presidency. In this declaration, Spain, Belgium and Hungary make a firm commitment to make gender equality a reality for all in Europe.

The day before, together with their colleagues from Poland, Denmark and Cyprus, the incoming trio of presidencies, the ministers visited the Brussels Sexual Assault Centre, one of the ten already deployed in Belgium. These centres provide victims of sexual violence with medical and forensic care, as well as psychological support and aftercare, all in one place.

Central questions of the informal meeting on 27 February were:
• How can we place gender equality at the very centre of the ongoing transformation of European society in the context of the economic, green, and digital transitions
• What can be done to strengthen institutional mechanisms of gender equality policy, including within the Council setting?

Deepening and strengthening institutional mechanisms for gender equality and gender mainstreaming policy within the EU

The Members States provided support to the higher visibility of gender equality policy in the Council. Based on this result the Presidency will table formal discussion on adding Equality to the name of the Employment and Social Affairs Council Configuration during the first Council meeing exclusively dedicated to Equality on 7th of May.

A strong support was lent also to the strengthening of high level political leadership, the continuation of the gender equal college with a European Commissioner with (gender) equality portfolio and an ambitious new Gender Equality Strategy post-2025 and further gender mainstreaming of EU policies.

Continuing to progress and advance on existing gender equality initiatives and fight gender-based violence

European Commissioner Dalli
“Our commitment to achieving a Union of Equality led us to make advancements in safeguarding the rights of women and girls in Europe, from combating gender-based violence to narrowing the gender pay gap. To achieve these goals we must work collaboratively and we must remain mindful of setbacks and backlashes in our pursuit”

Ministers pointed out that while a lot has been achieved, significant work remains to be done. This included calls to further work on combatting all forms of gender-based violence including cyberviolence, on closing persisting gender employment, care, pay and pension gaps within the frame of the European Pillar of Social Rights, and deepening of gender mainstreaming in relevant policy areas, such as digital, green or health policies.

Gender perspective at the heart of the green and digital transition

The next 5 years will see extensive work at EU-level to support the twin transitions.

Women and men in all their diversity are affected differently by climate deregulation, energy prices, and measures to reduce carbon emissions. More needs to be done to put a gender perspective at the heart of the green transition.

Digital technologies are rapidly transforming our society and the lives of citizens. Ministers discussed the risk of perpetuating or even exacerbating existing patterns of gender and other intersecting inequalities, for example, through historically biased input data and stereotypes embedded in artificial intelligence or due to unequal representation in STEM sectors.

Health was another important policy that would benefit from gender mainstreaming given its gendered impact as regards to access to information and services, intersecting discriminations and questions of bodily autonomy.

The President of the European Women’s Lobby added to the discussion by mentioning the contribution of women’s organisations and civil society, its essential role and called for more recognition and resources. “The current legislative period has shown us what can be achieved when Gender Equality is put on the EU political agenda and when the expertise and demands of Women’s rights organisations are taken into consideration. To further progress on women’s rights, stronger institutional mechanisms are essential as well as a seat at the table and adequate resources for women’s organisations”.

Nicolas Parent:, +32 497 17 20 57
Inge Jooris:, +32 475 80 04 87

David Jordens, spokesperson – porte-parole – woordvoerder

TEL: +32 478 92 09 37


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