The European Social Charter (ESC) was adopted in 1961 and revised in 1996 and complements the European Convention on Human Rights. The ESC addresses economic and social rights, and guarantees the enjoyment of rights in the areas of housing, health, education, employment, legal and social protection and the movement of persons.

All rights in the Social Charter must be implemented without discrimination on any grounds, and this includes on grounds of sex or gender. The revised form of the Charter provides for equality between women and men in education, work and family life, for positive measures to ensure equal opportunities, and the right to equal remuneration.