Gender equality is both an integral part of human rights and a fundamental criterion of democracy.

The Council of Europe seeks to prevent any interference with women’s liberty and dignity, eliminate discrimination based on gender, promote a balanced participation of women and men in political and public life and encourage the integration of a gender perspective into all programmes and policies. Since the 1980s the Council of Europe has helped Europe states to achieve de jure gender equality and is guiding their efforts to achieve de facto gender equality.

With the launching in 2012 of a new Gender Equality programme, the Council of Europe aims at increasing the impact and visibility of its standards. To ensure the mainstreaming of gender equality into all Council of Europe policies and to support the implementation of the relevant standards, the Programme counts on:

  • A Gender Equality Commission, composed of members appointed by member states;
  • A network of National Focal Points in each member state;
  • Gender equality rapporteurs within the steering committees and other intergovernmental structures of the Council of Europe;
  • An Inter Secretariat Gender Mainstreaming Team.

The main priority areas of work are: