At a glance

Gender Equality Strategy

Strategic Objectives

Gender Equality Programme


Gender Equality


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.




Application deadline extended to 22 March 2015!

Call for country experts on gender equality in access to justice (Armenia / Azerbaijan / Georgia / Republic of Moldova / Ukraine)

[23/02/2015] The Gender Equality Unit of the Council of Europe is implementing a project on “Improving women’s access to justice in Five Eastern Partnership countries” (2015-2016). The countries covered by this project are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The project is funded as part of the CoE/EU 2015 – 2017 Eastern Partnership Programmatic Co-operation Framework and it has been designed to contribute to the implementation of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy (2014-2017) in particular one of its five objectives: “Guaranteeing equal access of women to justice”. The Gender Equality Unit is now launching a call for expressions of interest from country experts who would be interested in consultancy contracts for this project. For further information, please see the Call for experts


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.

Conference “Towards Guaranteeing equal access of women to justice” (15-16 October 2015, Bern, Switzerland)

Bern The Swiss Federal Office for Gender Equality and the Council of Europe Gender Equality Commission are organising this event in 2015. Please block the dates in your diaries and check regularly this website for further information. Read more.....


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.


Recommendation CM/Rec(2015)2 on gender mainstreaming in sport

[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

UNECE Report[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.


Sweden is spending SEK26 million on gender equality support

[02/02/2015] The Swedish government is spending SEK 26 million to support the gender equality work in 41 government agencies. It is a diverse group of agencies that over a period of four years will receive unique support from the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research in their gender mainstreaming work. Press release.

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

Barbershop, NY Jan 2015[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.

- Programme (in French only)

- The Istanbul Convention: a tool to end female genital mutilation (available in French shortly)

* 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.

Programme of the event.

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….

Secretary General Jagland: Europe must do more to investigate cases of violence against women