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Gender equality is an important policy goal of the Council of Europe. Priority areas of intervention are defined by the Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023 and working methods include intergovernmental work, cooperation projects and gender mainstreaming.

 At a glance


AI: Friend or enemy of gender equality?

Risks of algorithmic discrimination due to “bias” are of prominent public concern and require a multi-faceted response. In this context, the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Commission and the Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity, and Inclusion have jointly published a study on the impact of artificial intelligence systems, their potential for promoting equality including gender equality, and the risks they may cause in relation to non-discrimination. The study suggests that the Council of Europe address the issue of artificial intelligence (AI) and equality, including gender equality, through the development of a robust human-rights based approach based on four complementary avenues for regulatory and policy intervention: a) prevention, transparency and accountability; b) access to justice and legal redress mechanisms; c) diversity, inclusion, representation, participation; and d) democratic participation, public awareness-raising, and capacity-building. The study provides key elements to feed into the elaboration of a possible future instrument on the impact of AI systems on equality, including gender equality and non-discrimination.
The co-author of the study, Ivana Bartoletti, shed light on these issues during a Council of Europe session of the 2023 Internet Governance Forum in Kyoto on “Shaping artificial intelligence technologies to ensure respect for human rights and democratic values”.

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In March 2019, the Committee of Ministers adopted the Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1 on preventing and combating sexism: it calls for specific action in respect of language and communication; internet and social media; media, advertising and other communication methods; workplace; public sector; justice sector; education institutions; culture and sport and the private sphere. An action page and a brochure give concrete guidance regarding the implementation of the Recommendation.

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Migrant women and girls

In May 2022, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted the Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)17 on protecting the rights of migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls. The Recommendation brings together the provisions of existing Council of Europe and international standards and the policies that can best ensure the empowerment and protection of migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls.

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