Full text 
Procedure : 2011/2151(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0351/2011

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 16/11/2011 - 20
CRE 16/11/2011 - 20

Votes :

PV 17/11/2011 - 6.9
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Wednesday, 16 November 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

20. Gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament (short presentation)
Video of the speeches

  President. − The next item is the report by Mikael Gustafsson, on behalf of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament (2011/2151(INI)) (A7-0351/2011).


  Mikael Gustafsson, rapporteur.(SV) Madam President, I am very pleased to be presenting this report, which is about strengthening our work to promote gender equality throughout the European Parliament. I have taken over the responsibility for this report from the former rapporteur for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, Eva-Britt Svensson, a member of my own party and a source of inspiration in our ongoing work to promote equality here in the European Parliament.

Ms Svensson was very careful to emphasise that we need to get all actors on board if we are to make progress in terms of increasing equality between women and men. Gender mainstreaming is aimed at doing just that, namely ensuring that all policy areas and our own organisation and governing bodies incorporate an equality-based approach.

In the context of equality, we usually talk about the importance of a dual strategy. By this, we mean on the one hand that there is a need for specific equality policy measures, specially earmarked resources in the budget for equality-related investments and specific bodies such as our committee here in Parliament.

On the other hand, the gender perspective must permeate everything we do, with regard to both how our organisation operates and how we work in the various policy areas. All policy areas – and I mean all – can have a gender perspective. Labour market and social policy are perhaps the most obvious, but areas like transport policy, climate change, cultural policy, education policy and so on also clearly have one, too. We need a gender perspective in all areas if we are to succeed in formulating a policy that creates more equality and that is able to ensure that our common policy and our solutions are based on, and meet, the needs of both women and men.

Often, work begins at home, in one’s own house, and for us that means in this House, our Parliament. We cannot be credible in our work and in the demands that we make of others outside Parliament if we are not at the same time prepared to practise what we preach. This means that the most fundamental principles of gender equality must be found in our House.

This report identifies several extremely important measures, for example:

adopting and implementing a policy plan for gender mainstreaming in Parliament;

the systematic use of gender-budgeting, that is to say analysing the budget from a gender perspective in order to see how the various measures affect men and women;

strengthening the gender perspective in all committee work; the situation at present varies considerably, with some committees working extremely well as far as this is concerned and others being undeniably in need of improvement;

increasing the proportion of women in decision-making positions in our governing bodies, in delegations and in leading roles in committees;

ensuring that gender issues permeate the work in Parliament’s various delegations and our dialogue with developing countries;

making use of the expertise produced and found in the European Institute for Gender Equality.

Gender mainstreaming is a concept which could result in major change, but which could, unfortunately, also be ineffective if it is not provided with political will and tangible measures. I therefore look forward with great pleasure to Parliament supporting this report. It will send out a clear message that we, as democratically elected representatives, are prepared to take an extra step to strengthen our work for the equality of men and women, equal rights and equal opportunities – within all policy areas and in Parliament’s internal ways of working and its governing bodies.


  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D).(RO) Madam President, gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament’s structures is a necessary and welcome measure which will ensure representation that is appropriate to the needs, aspirations and experiences of the whole of society. As long as we adopt and promote regulatory acts aimed at ensuring equal opportunities not only throughout the EU, but also in third countries, as MEPs and representatives of Europe’s citizens, we must be the first to set an example on promoting this policy because we cannot ask others to apply an equal opportunities policy without us doing the same throughout Parliament.

I also think that a balance needs to be struck between the proportion of women and men at decision-making level in all Parliament’s governing bodies and in the bureaux of political groups, committees and delegations. In addition, we need to prevent discrimination against women who would like to pursue a career within the EU’s structures, be a mother at the same time and have a well-balanced family life.


  Ulrike Lunacek (Verts/ALE). - Madam President, I would also like to thank the rapporteur for having taken over this work from Ms Svensson, who I also miss very dearly at Parliament, because of the very good work she has been doing.

I hope the report will continue in the same manner with you, Mr Gustafsson, and thank you for what you have said.

I very much appreciate what you said about the work having to begin at home. I remember when I came to Parliament, and to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, I realised there were only men on the presidency of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. I thought to myself, ‘where am I?’, because I had been working in foreign affairs in the Austrian Parliament for a long time and I very often was the only women. However, given that gender mainstreaming has been such an important issue at Parliament and at EU level for such a long time, we really have to start here to make sure that delegations are led by women and men in equal numbers. If we go to different parts of the world, be it neighbourhood countries or other continents, what example do we want to set? One where men still rule everything, or one where women are important?

So, I very much appreciate the work of the rapporteur, and I hope and I trust as well in the presidency of Parliament and at all levels, even in our own Groups, that this work will continue and the plan that is being proposed will be put into practice, because we need to set a good example ourselves.


  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). (SK) Madam President, I shall be brief. I admit that I am surprised that the issue of gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament has only come onto the agenda now. The European Parliament has championed gender equality for a long time now, with its recommendations being incorporated into all the documents it adopts. It is therefore natural that it should formalise this equality policy on home ground. This is the only way to give the European Parliament credibility in the eyes of those whom its documents require to observe gender equality. When the tabled report has been adopted, the main principles accepted will be consistently implemented. And that, I think, is the main point of this proposal.


  Mikael Gustafsson, rapporteur.(SV) Madam President, I would like to thank the speakers for the excellent points that they have made. They emphasised what is already contained in the report. I would like to take the opportunity once again to emphasise the fact that I cannot in any way take the credit for the content of this report. I took over the report from Eva-Britt Svensson. However, I am just as determined as Ms Svensson when it comes to ensuring that this will become a reality. I am just as determined in my work to ensure that the European Parliament genuinely acquires a gender perspective.


  President. − The debate is closed.

The vote will take place tomorrow (Thursday, 17 November 2011).

Written statements (Rule 149)


  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – Gender mainstreaming is a very important issue and in order for Parliament to be taken seriously in this regard we need to ensure that we practise what we preach. The Parliament must truly reflect the needs, aspirations and experiences of all society. Gender mainstreaming is firmly established in Article 8 of the Treaty of Lisbon and I welcome this report as a first step towards the mainstreaming of the institutions.

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