Gender Mainsteaming High-level group discusses state of play of policies at EU level

Portugal hosted a meeting of the High-level group for Gender Mainstreaming on September 10th and 11th 2007 chaired by the European Commission. This is a group made by high level representatives responsible for gender equality in the Member States. Among others the group’s tasks are the strategic planning of activities, measures and policies in this area.

In this context during the two days the group discussed the state of play of policies on Gender Equality at the EU level, namely the preparation of the European Commission’s Annual Report on equality Between Women and Men (to be presented in the Spring Council of March 2008). It also assessed the implementation of measures to promote Gender Equality following the "Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men (2006-2010)" of the European Commission and the "European Pact for Gender Equality" (approved at the Spring Council March 2006) as well as in the framework of the "Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs" in the light of the preparation of the new cycle 2008-2011.

At the meeting the Portuguese Presidency also presented for discussion a report on indicators on "Women and Poverty" as a follow-up of the Beijing Platform for Action. In order to monitor this reality there is a need to develop adequate indicators and all member-states have had the opportunity to present their contributions.

The final report elaborated by Portugal will be presented for approval at the EPSCO (Employment and Social Policy) Council in Brussels, 5-6 December. Once approved, the indicators will be integrated in the EU statistical instruments enabling comparative analysis and adequate policy making.

It is relevant to mention the strategic importance of such indicators considering that the phenomenon of poverty in not gender neutral and, in fact, it affects more women than men. The analysis of poverty has to consider factors other than economic deprivation such as education, health, housing, labour market, social protection, family and private life as well as security and participation in the public sphere.

Also at this meeting was highlighted the relevance of the Trio of Presidencies (Germany, Portugal and Slovenia) that for the first time developed an 18 month Programme enabling continuity in policies and longer-term results. Therefore, Germany had the opportunity to provide information on the outcomes of its Presidency and Portugal and Slovenia could present their Presidencies programme for the area of Gender Equality.

A worthy to mention outcome of this joint work is the Trio of Presidencies Declaration "Towards Gender Equality in the European Union" signed during the German Presidency and that will have a follow-up during the Portuguese Presidency.

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