The justice jigsaw that cuts out women - Op-ed by Director General of Democracy Snežana Samardžić-Marković
[05-10-2015] Women’s access to justice is the focus of the latest op-ed article by CoE Director General of Democracy Ms Snežana Samardžić-Marković, who will speak at the opening session of the Conference “Towards guaranteeing equal access of women to justice” (Bern, 15-16 October 2015). Inequality and discrimination in women’s access to justice results from negative gender stereotypes and customs which subordinate women – one of the root causes of inequality between women and men in our societies. For further information, please visit the Conference website.
The Secretary General Thorbjřrn Jagland commits to a Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality
[29-09-2015] “The Council of Europe confirms its commitment to Step it Up to close the gender equality gap and to continue contributing to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Sustainable Development Goal 5. The Council of Europe's Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017 sets the following strategic objectives - all aiming at transformative action to achieve de facto gender equality :
A direct consequence of inequality is violence against women. Our "gold standard" - the Istanbul Convention - provides a comprehensive response to prevent violence, protect victims and prosecute the perpetrators. Its monitoring mechanism has just been set up and we all look forward to receiving data that will allow the states parties to better prioritise their actions and strengthen the effectiveness of their response to combat this heinous violation of human rights, together with our partner Organisations, including UN Women. I am proud to be a supporter of the "HeforShe" - "When you work in human rights you see that the strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which women are empowered and the genders are more equal". Gender equality is not a women or a man issue - it is a Human Rights issue”. Read more: http://beijing20.unwomen.org/en/step-it-up/additional-commitments
New Global Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted, including targets for gender equality
On 25 September 2015, the UN member states adopted the new global agenda for sustainable development: “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and 169 related targets, aim to end poverty, combat inequalities and promote prosperity while protecting the environment, all by 2030 and in all UN member states. SDG 5 focuses on achieving gender equality and includes specific targets among others, to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls, eliminate all forms of violence against women; ensure women’s full participation in all areas of decision-making in political, public and economic life; and ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. In addition to SDG 5, gender equality is relevant for all the other goals and targets. The Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017 directly addresses many of the specific targets including the fight against gender inequality; ending violence against women and domestic violence, the promotion of the full participation of women in political and public decision making and the need to guarantee access to fair justice systems for all.
For further data, stories, videos and publications to illustrate the impact of each SDG on women and girls, please see the special editorial by UN Women.
Coming up soon: Bern Conference “Towards guaranteeing equal access of women to justice”
The Swiss Federal Office for Gender Equality and the CoE Gender Equality Commission are organising this event on 15-16 October 2015. For further information and last-minute registration, please visit www.coe.int/equality-Bern2015
Supporting Women’s Rights Defenders in Europe
On 22th September 2015, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights published a Human Rights Comment regarding the situation of Women’s Rights Defender in Europe. Women’s Rights Defenders (WRD) are targeted for or exposed to gender-specific threats and gender-specific violence especially “when they challenge patriarchal values, sexist stereotypes and the traditional perception of gender roles”. The Commissioner underlines the urgent need to put an end to impunity for violations that WRD face because of their work and called on all relevant stakeholders to fully integrate women’s human rights in their work and “to support women’s rights defenders and fully cooperate with them.
Combating gender stereotypes and sexism is one of the five objectives of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017 and activities to address gender stereotypes and sexism in the fields of media and education have been undertaken. Read More.
Sarajevo Conference calls to redress gender inequality in the European film industry
The ministries of Civil Affairs and Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with the Sarajevo Film Festival, organised the conference “Women in today’s European film industry: gender matters. Can we do better?”, held in Sarajevo on 14 August 2015, in the framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Chairmanship of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers. The Gender Equality Unit participated in the conference with a presentation on why gender matters in the film industry, including the relevant Council of Europe standards and materials. A Conference Declaration was adopted, calling for policies to redress the gender imbalance in the European audio-visual industry. Further information. Eurimages and Gender Equality.
New publication: Council of Europe Standards on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights
The Gender Equality Unit has published a new brochure bringing together the main Council of Europe instruments on gender equality and women’s rights.
The complete texts of all the conventions and recommendations listed in the brochure can be found on this website.If you would like to receive paper copies of this brochure, please contact us par email at: email@example.com. We hope that you will find this compilation useful for your work.
CEDAW adopts General Recommendation on Women’s Access to Justice
One of the highlights of the 61th session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which ended on 24 July 2015, was the adoption of General Recommendation 33 on women’s access to justice. The Council of Europe has actively participated in the preparatory work since 2013. This General Recommendation will be an important input to the Council of Europe Conference “Towards guaranteeing equal access of women to justice” hosted by the Swiss authorities in Bern, on 15-16 October 2015.
EIGE launches Gender Equality Index 2015: Marginal improvements in gender equality
The European Institute for Gender Equality launched the Gender Equality Index 2015. The Gender Equality Index is built around six core domains - work, money, knowledge, time, power and health – and two satellite domains: violence against women and intersecting inequalities. It is based on EU policy priorities and it assesses the impact of gender equality policies in the European Union and by Member States over time. In comparison to 2005, progress has been achieved in all the domains covered by the Index. However, when comparing the Index scores since 2010, the improvements are marginal with an overall score going up from 52.4 in 2010 to 52.9 out of 100 in 2012 (1 stands for "no gender equality" and 100 for "full gender equality"). The Council of Europe contributed to the plenary session “Toward a Composite Measure of Violence against Women”. For more information and resources, see the following links:
The promotional clip on the Gender Equality Index
7th meeting of the Gender Mainstreaming Team
The 7th meeting of the Gender Mainstreaming Team (GMT), comprising representatives from all Council of Europe administrative entities, took place on 28 May 2015. The agenda included an update on the implementation of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy, as well as information from GMT members about ongoing/planned gender-related activities in their sectors. Brief presentations were made about the setting up of the monitoring mechanism under the Istanbul Convention, gender-related work by the Venice Commission and the latest CM Recommendations with gender content: “Recommendation CM/Rec(2015)2 on gender mainstreaming in sport” and “Recommendation CM/Rec(2015)3 on access of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods to social rights”.
GREVIO members elected
At its first meeting, on 4 May 2015, the Committee of the Parties to the Istanbul Convention elected the first ten members of GREVIO: Feride Acar (Turkish), Biljana Brankovic (Serbian), Francoise Brié (French), Helena Maria Carvallho Martins Leitao (Portuguese), Gemma Gallego (Spanish), Simona Lanzoni (Italian), Rosa Logar (Austrian), Iris Luarasi (Albanian), Marceline Naudi (Maltese), Vesna Ratkovic (Montenegrin). For further information, please visit the website of the Istanbul Convention.
CoE participation at the Forum on the Future of Gender Equality in the European Union
The European Commission, under the auspices of Ms Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, organised a high-level hearing on the future of gender equality in the European Union (Brussels, Belgium 20-21 April 2015). Speakers at the Forum shared their views and proposals on achieving gender equal societies, identified priorities, challenges and policy solutions for the future and shared their vision of what a gender equal European Union would look like from diverse perspectives. The Council of Europe was invited to contribute to this process and to share the experience in implementing the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017. It was also invited to act as a panellist in the Workshop on Violence against Women. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/events/future-of-gender-equality-2015/index_en.htm.
7th Meeting of the Gender Equality Commission (15-17 April 2015)
The Gender Equality Commission (GEC) met in Strasbourg from 15 to 17 April 2015. It reviewed progress on the implementation of the CoE Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017 and advanced preparations for the next Conference of National Focal Points on Gender Equality: “Towards guaranteeing equal access of women to justice” (Bern, 15-16 October 2015). The GEC also reviewed the preparation of the launch of the third monitoring round of implementation of CM Recommendation (2003)3 on balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision making. Consult the meetings documents and presentations.
France takes action on Sexual Harassement and Sexual Violence on Public Transport
[16/04/2015] France’s High Council for Equality between Men and Women today transmitted their Recommendation on Sexual Harassement and Sexual Violence on Public Transport to Mme Pascale Boistard, Secretary of State for Women’s Rights. Read more (in French only)...
New European Commission webpage dedicated to grant-funded projects on gender equality
[25/03/2015] The European Commission has created a new webpage dedicated to gender equality projects funded in the framework of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme for 2014-2020. The website includes information on currently running and past projects to promote gender equality in different fields, combat gender-based violence and improving gender mainstreaming in national policies and programmes, as well as some specific outputs and events from current projects. It also informs about current funding opportunities, including calls for proposals recently launched.
“Gender inequality and violence against women are serious human rights concerns in Armenia. More vigorous efforts are needed to address them” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, publishing the report of his visit to Armenia from 5 to 9 October 2014
[10/03/2015] The adoption of gender-related action plans and the 2013 Law on Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Women and Men are steps in the right direction, but extensive gender bias still hampers the effective empowerment and equal treatment of women. As a matter of priority, the Commissioner recommends eliminating all vestiges of gender bias in school curricula, the adoption of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law, an increase in women’s representation in public and political life, as well as more resolute measures to promote gender equality, including in the labour market. [Read more]
International Women's Day 8 March 2015 - Statements
Secretary General Thorbjřrn Jagland and Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni
[08/03/2015] “Across the world, International Women's Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater gender equality. We are encouraged to see some positive developments such as more laws criminalising domestic violence and other forms of violence against women. Or the fact that more countries are ratifying the Council of Europe’s award-winning and standard setting treaty the Istanbul Convention – 16 to date – to counter such violence." [Read more]
Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
[05/03/2015] “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” said Hillary Clinton during the Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995. As we celebrate International Women’s Day and the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at that Conference, I cannot but echo this statement and call on all Council of Europe member States to make gender equality and the fulfilment of women’s rights a reality and not just a promise. [Read more]
Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of the Council of Europe Directorate of Democracy
[02/03/2015 Article published in "New Europe"] One of the themes adopted for next week’s International Women’s Day is ‘make it happen’. More than a century after the first Women’s Day took place, we might ask why it isn’t already happening, why that bedrock of gender inequality is still firmly in place. [Read more]
A side event at the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women organised in partnership with the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of Belgium to the United Nations, UN Headquarters, New York, Conference Room 22 - GA Building, 9 March 2015
[23/02/2015] Gender stereotypes and overtly sexualised images of women feed into violence against women. They present a serious – and increasingly acute - obstacle to the achievement of real gender equality. The widespread sexualisation of women’s bodies suggesting their permanent sexual availability and gender-baised customs and traditions contribute to treating women as subordinate members of the family or society. They also affect how women are treated and perceived by public institutions and societal structures. Abolishing negative gender stereotypes and sexism is therefore essential to achieving de facto gender equality. Committed to addressing the root causes of violence against women and to promoting greater equality between women and men, the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention aims at changing attitudes and eliminating stereotypes not only at the level of individuals, but also at the level of institutions. Media and Education are key agents for making this change. This Side Event will highlight the work of the Council of Europe in combating gender stereotypes and sexism and present the Council of Europe standards in this area: the Istanbul Convention, the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendations on gender equality and media and gender mainstreaming in education as well as good practices identified in the member states on this subject. For more information
European Commission Report on Equality between Women and Men 2014
[06/03/2015] The European Commission's annual Report on Equality between Women and Men outlines the progress achieved in 2014 in the six priority areas of the Commission’s 2010-2015 Strategy for equality between women and men. The report shows that despite some progress, gender equality remains an unfinished business and inequalities within and between EU Member States have grown overall.
Combating Gender Stereotypes in and through Education – Key findings and Recommendations
[11/02/2015] The abridged report of the Conference on Combating gender stereotypes in and through education, co-organised by the Council of Europe with the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, in October 2014, is now available. In the report you will find a summary of the discussions which took place in Helsinki, the key findings and the conclusions of the Conference. Recommendations to governments, regional and local authorities, education professionals, schools, non-governmental organisations and international organisations have also been put forward.
Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017: Progress Implementation Report
[02/02/2015] The first Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy has allowed the Organisation to focus its response to the challenges and opportunities faced in the implementation of key gender equality standards both within the Council of Europe and in its member States. It has energised and accelerated work on narrowing the gap between de jure and de facto gender equality, as well as brought together resources for greater impact across the organisation, through its gender mainstreaming pillar. The report highlights progress towards the achievement of the five objectives of the Strategy, results achieved as well as challenges and opportunities. Some of the many highlights include the entry into force of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention - 1 August 2014), the publication of practical tools such as compilations of good practices, handbooks on the implementation of Council of Europe gender equality standards, the organisation of two important conferences for National Focal Points (NFP) – one on the image of women and the media and the second on combating gender stereotypes in and through education. For more information, please read the progress report.
News from the member States - Serbia to establish a Co-ordination body for gender equality[12/02/2015] The Serbian government has adopted a decision to establish the Co-ordination body for Gender Equality. The Coordination Body for Gender Equality will consider, coordinate and promote gender equality issues in the Republic of Serbia.
[27/01/2015] The Recommendation promotes policies and practices to ensure gender mainstreaming in all fields and at all levels of sport. Member states are to encourage co-operation between stakeholders responsible for sport, physical education and gender equality policies at the national level. The Recommendation includes a list of legislative and policy measures, specific programmes to combat gender-based violence in sport, awareness-raising, and measures in formal and non-formal physical education, among others. Member states are asked to review gender mainstreaming policies, practices and results at the national level and report to the relevant bodies of the Council of Europe on the steps taken and progress achieved.
Recommendation CM/Rec(2015)3 on the access of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods to social rights
[27/01/2015] The Recommendation includes the need for member States to develop gender-sensitive approaches in the elaboration of youth policies in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and provide support for the capacity building and equal participation of young women and young men. The Recommendation includes measures to promote gender equality and improve the access to social rights of young people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. It also addresses the prevention of all forms of violence in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, including bullying, sexual harassment, and gender-based violence. The Recommendation calls for gender-sensitive human rights training for police, legal professionals and representatives of other responsible authorities involved in addressing violence in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
New factsheet on guaranteeing women’s equal access to justice
[21/01/2015] The Council of Europe Gender Equality Unit has prepared a new factsheet on work and standards on women’s access to justice. The factsheet is prepared in the framework of work and activities towards the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017. The factsheet will be updated after the next event on this issue: the conference “Towards guaranteeing equal access of women to justice” (15-16 October 2015, Bern, Switzerland).
Indicators on Gender Equality
[06/02/2015] The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) recently issued a publication which presents 115 Indicators of Gender Equality recommended for use in countries participating in the work of the Conference of European Statisticians (CES). The publication refers to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) and highlights that the Convention includes “an obligation of the state to fully address violence against women in all its forms and to take measures to prevent violence against women, protect its victims and prosecute the perpetrators”. For further information, download the document.
New report on National Roma Integration Strategies: evaluating gender
[21/01/2015] The European Roma and Travellers Forum has published the report “Evaluating gender in the National Roma Integration Strategies”, focusing specifically on the issues of gender, youth, and anti-discrimination. The report finds that these three areas, and gender in particular, deserve more thorough attention both at European and national levels. The report also provides methods to more effectively mainstream gender and youth, and strengthen anti-discrimination measures. Link to the report.
Entry into force of the Istanbul Convention: a milestone achievement in gender equality
12/01/2015] This timeline is a selection of some of the gender equality achievements, milestones and noteworthy moments from around the world during the year 2014. It features the entry into force of the landmark Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). Click to read more.
Barbershop Conference - 14-15 January 2015 – Changing the discourse among men on gender equality
[09/01/2015] Organised by the Icelandic government, together with the Government of Suriname, the event at the UN Headquarters in New York will rally men and boys to commit to upholding gender equality and change the discourse among their peers. It will provide a setting for men-to-men discussions about their own role, privileges and behaviours in realising women’s rights and ending violence against women and girls. Mr Sergiy Kyslytsya, Chairperson of the Gender Equality Commission, will represent the Council of Europe in this event. (Concept Note, Programme, Speech and photo gallery).
6th meeting of the Gender Equality Commission (GEC)
[20/11/2014] The Gender Equality Commission (GEC) unanimously elected Sergiy Kyslytsya (Ukraine) as its Chair. The GEC also elected Kira Appel (Denmark) as its Vice Chair. The term of office of both appointments is for one year, and may be renewed for another year. Consult the meetings documents and presentations.
Round Table on the Istanbul Convention as a tool to end female genital mutilation, Paris, 15 December 2014[11/12/2014] A round table on the Istanbul Convention and female genital mutilation (FGM) to be held on 15 December 2014 in Paris, will bring together a wide range of French Government representatives in order to discuss the added value of the Istanbul Convention when it comes to combating FGM in France.
The event is being organised by the French Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights, the Council of Europe, the Amnesty International “End FGM” European Campaign and the GAMS* National Federation. The Council of Europe and Amnesty International’s guide on the use of the Convention as a tool to end FGM will be presented on this occasion.
* Group against Sexual Mutilation, Forced Marriage and other harmful practices against Women and Children
Regional Workshop on “Mapping the way forward to provide sufficient and accessible support services in response to violence against women and girls”, Tirana, 4-5 December 2014[02/12/2014] The Council of Europe’s Analytical report of the results of the 4th round of monitoring the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2002)5 of the Committee of Ministers on the protection of women against violence revealed several gaps in the area of support services to respond to violence against women and girls, such as insufficient shelter beds and very low levels of support available for victims of sexual assault. To address these challenges, the Council of Europe and UN Women initiated a study on the availability and accessibility of support services for women and girls subjected to gender-based violence.
A regional workshop will be held to present the methodology and discuss the development of national studies in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia and Turkey. Representatives of government, civil society and researchers from Jordan, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine will also attend. The regional workshop will provide a forum for dialogue among 60 expected participants, on the existing challenges to meet the standards of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) in the area of support services.
The event takes place within the global 16 days of activism against gender violence campaign.
Council of Europe Gender Mainstreaming with CODEXTER
[17/11/2014] At their 27th plenary meeting on 13-14 November 2014, the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER) examined and took note of the Discussion Paper on Possible Gender-Related Priorities prepared by the Gender Equality Rapporteur, Ms Tanja KIKEREKOVA (“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”). The CODEXTER endorsed the proposals contained in the aforesaid document, including that the Group of Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism could examine the implementation of gender mainstreaming within the Convention, and that CODEXTER could examine the role of women in radicalization, with a view to developing best practices/guidelines on these issues as necessary.
International Day to End Violence against Women on 25 November 2014
[25/11/2014] The Council of Europe participated to the official commemoration of the International Day to end Violence against women at UN Headquarters on 25 November 2014. During her intervention in the Panel Violence against Women and Girls: Best Laws and Policies, Learning from the winners of the 2014 Future Policy Award, Marja Ruotanen, Director of Human Dignity and Equality, highlighted the importance of the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention as a unique and the most comprehensive global instrument to address violence against women and domestic violence, the measures to be taken in order to guarantee the effective implementation of the Convention and the setting up and role of the monitoring mechanism. For scenes from the panel please take a look at:
Turning vision into reality: the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention - response to women victims of violence across the world[24/11/2014] On the International Day on Ending Violence against Women, the Council of Europe remembers the hundreds and thousands of women who suffer unspeakable violence, at the hands of their partners, family, and strangers. We remember the women who live with fear and feel unsafe whether they are inside the walls of their home, in the workplace, at school, in a war zone or just walking in the street. More….