At a glance

Gender Equality Strategy

Strategic Objectives

Gender Equality Programme



Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG)

The Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) is the intergovernmental body which is responsible for defending, stimulating and conducting the Council of Europe’s action to promote equality between women and men. It is directly answerable to the Committee of Ministers, from which it receives its instructions and to which it addresses its reports and proposals.


The members of the CDEG are appointed by the government of each of the Council of Europe member States. According to the profile drawn up by the Committee of Ministers, they must be “persons with high-level responsibility for policies in favour equality between women and men, or other highly qualified specialists”.

As well as the representatives of member states, further to a decision by the Committee of Ministers, the following bodies and states are invited to send representatives with an observer status and without voting rights:

Council of Europe bodies: the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Conference of INGOs; the states with observer status with the Council of Europe: Canada, the Holy See, Japan, Mexico and United States of America;
the European Commission, specialised bodies and institutions of the United Nations, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR-OSCE).

Role and duties

Under a two year terms of reference (2007-2008), renewable, assigned to it by the Committee of Ministers, and within the framework of the Council of Europe Programme of Activities, under Programmes I.3.3 “Protection of persons against threats to their dignity and their integrity” and III.1.3 “Gender equality for a functioning democracy” the Committee is instructed to:

promote the adoption and implementation of common gender equality standards, the setting up of mechanisms for gender equality, the use of specific gender equality policies and an efficient use of gender mainstreaming including gender budgeting and of gender equality tools, as well as a balanced participation of women and men in politics and decision making in all spheres of society, including in the economic field;

reinforce action to protect the dignity and integrity of persons, by preventing and combating violence against women and trafficking in human beings, and in particular by promoting and protecting the human rights of the victims, and by taking initiatives in the context of the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence, and of the Council of Europe Campaign on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings;

promote co-operation between member states with a view to achieving de facto gender equality as an integral part of human rights, a sine qua non of genuine democracy and a factor of economic development and progress, and to stimulate actions at both national and Council of Europe level, having regard to activities undertaken within other international organisations;

prepare the European Ministerial conferences on equality between women and men and ensure the follow-up thereto, having regard to the relevant decisions of the Committee of Ministers;

continue its action to promote and develop the use of the strategy of gender mainstreaming in all programmes and activities within the Council of Europe, and in this context develop and/or undertake activities in co-operation with other Council of Europe steering committees and bodies in the different policy fields;

While taking account of the progress of this work, prepare, under its responsibility, proposals for the Programme of Activities for the coming years.

Within the framework of its terms of reference, the CDEG shall have the possibility to have whatever contacts or consultations with professional bodies that it deems necessary for the implementation of its terms of reference. It is assisted in its activities by the Secretariat of the Gender equality and anti-trafficking Division.