REPORT on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament

6.12.2018 - (2018/2162(INI))

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
Rapporteur: Angelika Mlinar

Procedure : 2018/2162(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which lay down the principle of gender equality as a core value of the Union,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 8 and 19 thereof,

–  having regard to Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which contains specific provisions on the horizontal principle of gender equality, and Article 6 TEU, which recognises that the Charter has the same legal value as the Treaties,

–  having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 1979,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) of 11 May 2011,

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 November 2016 on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women[1],

–  having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995, to the subsequent outcome documents adopted at the United Nations Beijing +5 (2000), Beijing +10 (2005) and Beijing +15 (2010) special sessions and the outcome document of the Beijing +20 review conference,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 10 February 2010 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2009[2], of 8 March 2011 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2010[3], of 13 March 2012 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2011[4], of 10 March 2015 on progress on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2013[5], and of 14 March 2017 on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2014-2015[6],

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2003 on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament[7],

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 January 2007 on gender mainstreaming in the work of the committees[8],

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 April 2009 on gender mainstreaming in the work of its committees and delegations[9],

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 May 2009 on gender mainstreaming in EU external relations and peace-building/nation-building[10],

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2012 on women in political decision-making[11],

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post-2015[12],

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 February 2016 on the new Strategy for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Europe post-2015[13],

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 March 2016 on Gender Mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament[14],

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2017 on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU[15],

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2018 on measures to prevent and combat mobbing and sexual harassment at the workplace, in public spaces, and in political life in the EU[16],

–  having regard to Regulation No 31 (EEC), 11 (EAEC), laying down the Staff Regulations of Officials and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (and its amendments and corrections) and in particular Articles 1(c) and (d) thereof[17],

–  having regard to the Women in the European Parliament brochure of 2018,

–  having regard to the European Parliament Human Resources Annual Report 2017, published in August 2018,

–  having regard to the guidelines on gender-neutral language in the European Parliament,

–  having regard to the report of Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Chair of the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity, to the Bureau of the European Parliament entitled 'Gender Equality in the European Parliament Secretariat – state of play and the way forward 2017-2019', adopted at the Bureau meeting of 16 January 2017,

–  having regard to the 2017-2019 roadmap for the implementation of the report entitled 'Gender Equality in the European Parliament Secretariat – state of play and the way forward 2017-2019',

–  having regard to the Action plan for the promotion of gender equality and diversity in the European Parliament Secretariat for the period 2014-2019,

–  having regard to the mandate of the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity,

–  having regard to its guidelines on equality for members/recruiters of selection panels,

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 19 July 2017 entitled 'A better workplace for all: from equal opportunities towards diversity and inclusion' (C(2017)5300)[18] and its Diversity and Inclusion Charter[19],

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 3 December 2015 entitled 'Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019' (SWD(2015)0278)[20],

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023[21],

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 19 November 2013 on gender mainstreaming, annexed to the European Parliament's legislative resolution on the draft Council regulation laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014–2020 attached to the multiannual financial framework (MFF)[22],

–  having regard to the Inter-Parliamentary Union report of 2011 entitled ‘Gender-sensitive Parliaments: A Global Review for Good Practice’ published in 2011,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0429/2018),

A.  whereas the principle of gender equality is a core value of the EU and is enshrined in the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights; whereas Article 8 TFEU states that the European Union shall, through all its activities, aim at eliminating inequalities, promote gender equality and combat discrimination when defining and implementing its policies and activities;

B.  whereas gender equality, in general, is central to the protection of human rights, the functioning of democracy, respect for the rule of law, economic growth, social inclusion and sustainability and the integration of a gender dimension is relevant to all policy areas of EU competence;

C.  whereas the right to equality and the guarantee of non-discrimination are bedrock principles underpinning gender mainstreaming; whereas gender mainstreaming means addressing the rights, perspectives and well-being of women, girls, LGBTIQ people and people of all gender identities;

D.  whereas progress in achieving gender equality in the EU is not only stagnating across the whole of the Union, but is also suffering significant setbacks in some Member States;

E.  whereas the Istanbul Convention stresses the importance of changing mentalities and attitudes in order to break out of the continuum of all forms of gender-based violence; whereas education at all levels and for persons of all ages on equality between women and men, on non-stereotype gender roles and on respect for personal integrity, is therefore required in this regard;

F.  whereas insufficient funds and human resources are being allocated to ensure real progress in gender mainstreaming of the EU’s policies, programmes, initiatives and actions;

G.  whereas the population of the European Union consists half of women and half of men, but the composition of the European Parliament reflects a severe female under-representation as only 36.1 % of MEPs are female; whereas this gap is further emphasised by the composition of Parliament’s Bureau, which is made up of 7 women and 13 men; whereas gender-balanced representation and diversity in Parliament’s bodies contribute to breaking down stereotypes, reduce discrimination and increase the level of democratic representation of EU citizens and the legitimacy of Parliament’s decisions;

H.  whereas of Parliament’s senior management appointments (Directors-General and Directors), only 11 % were women in 2016 and 33 % were women in 2017;

I.  whereas Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 aspires to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ by 2030 and is a cross-cutting objective of all 17 SDGs; whereas gender mainstreaming is a tool for effective, long-lasting and sustainable equitable development with a positive impact in terms of meeting poverty reduction goals; whereas, however, there is only very slow progress on gender equality and minimal change in many countries worldwide[23], including in Europe; whereas implementation of SDG 5 has had mixed results within and across the EU Member States and whereas the proportion of women in national parliaments and in decision-making positions is still far from equal to that of men[24];

J.  whereas gender budgeting has often led not only to less support for gender-specific actions, not to mention a lack of gender indicators, but also makes it almost impossible to estimate the amounts allocated to gender issues;

K.  whereas gender mainstreaming is considered to be an effective and globally accepted strategy aimed at achieving gender equality and combating discrimination by reorganising, improving, developing and evaluating policy processes so that the gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies, regulatory measures and spending programmes, and at all levels and stages by the actors involved in policy making; whereas gender mainstreaming provides key tools for the systematic consideration of the differences between the conditions, situations and needs of all in policies and actions, and the advancement of gender equality and promotion of equal rights and a gender-balanced representation at different administrative, political, social and economic levels and in decision-making;

L.  whereas greater interinstitutional cooperation on gender mainstreaming between Parliament, the Council and the Commission is needed in order to ensure that gender perspectives can be introduced in all phases of the Union’s budget, policies, programmes and initiatives, which would facilitate Parliament’s own gender mainstreaming work;

M.  whereas the gender mainstreaming amendments adopted by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and tabled for adoption in other committees are an effective tool for ensuring that gender equality is given due consideration in Parliament’s reports and resolutions;

N.  whereas gender budgeting in the form of planning and programming contributes to the advancement of gender equality and the fulfilment of women’s rights and is one of the key tools used by policy makers to promote gender equality, but nevertheless is still not systematically applied by any of the EU institutions;

O.  whereas according to the latest available data[25],women constitute 59 % of Parliament staff but are still under-represented in all ranks of management; whereas the number of women in senior management has even decreased since June 2017 and the number of women in middle management roles has increased only slightly;

P.  whereas the 2017 report on gender equality by Parliament Vice-President Dimitrios Papadimoulis established three targets for women’s representation in middle and senior management, to be achieved by 2019: 30 % at Director-General level, 35 % at Director level and 40 % at Head of Unit level, and whereas the subsequent roadmap outlines how to achieve these targets;

Q.  whereas in order to promote gender mainstreaming in the work of Parliament’s committees and delegations, a Member responsible for gender mainstreaming is appointed in each committee and in the Conference of Delegation Chairs, who shares experiences and best practice in the Gender Mainstreaming Network;

R.  whereas ensuring coherence between their internal human resources policies and their external actions in the field of promotion of gender equality and LGBTIQ rights is essential to the credibility of Parliament and the other EU institutions;

S.  whereas, since 2014, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure have stipulated that the diversity of Parliament must be reflected in the composition of the bureau of each parliamentary committee and that it shall not be permissible to have an all-male or all-female bureau;

T.  whereas senior management posts in Parliament are attributed solely by the Bureau of the European Parliament;

U.  whereas gender mainstreaming of the European Parliament must pay due attention to the rights, perspectives and well-being of LGBTIQ people and people of all gender identities; whereas although Parliament attaches increased importance to LGBTIQ issues, LGBTIQ activists have relatively low visibility and a weak voice;

V.  whereas there is a need to recognise the social and political value of women’s organisations and women’s spaces, of their history and their work, and of their key role in preventing gender-based violence and promoting gender equality, women’s self-determination and intercultural dialogue; whereas there is no conscious gender mainstreaming without places able to produce women’s self-determination and authority and to fight against male violence against women;

W.  whereas the legitimacy of women in the political sphere is still sometimes challenged, and whereas women are victims of stereotypes which discourage them from engaging in politics, a phenomenon that is particularly conspicuous wherever women in politics are less represented;

X.  whereas women in the EU have the same political and civil rights as men, but nevertheless frequently face social, societal or economic inequalities;

Y.  whereas gender equality contributes to more comprehensive debate and better decision-making as it can bring to the table all-inclusive points of view;

Z.  whereas institutions must be responsible for avoiding vertical and horizontal gender segregation;

Aa.  whereas Parliament has long years of commitment to promoting gender equality and whereas the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality has the responsibility to implement and further develop gender mainstreaming in all policy sectors;

Ab.  whereas Parliament must continue to combat sexual harassment and implement agreed measures;

Ac.  whereas Parliament has a number of different bodies in charge of developing and implementing gender mainstreaming and promoting gender equality and diversity both at the political and administrative levels such as the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, the Gender Mainstreaming Network, the Equality and Diversity Unit, the Committee on Equal Opportunities and Diversity (COPEC), égalité, the association of LGBTI+ staff of the EU institutions, the Advisory Committee for prevention and protection at work and the Group of Equality and Diversity Coordinators; whereas, however, there is no clear coordination or coherence between these bodies;

Ad.  whereas gender mainstreaming is a process that requires specific skills and knowledge, as well as commitment, and as such it is effective only if accompanied by awareness raising and capacity building activities in the institutions and among staff;

Ae.  whereas Parliament already committed itself in 2003 to adopting and implementing a policy plan for gender mainstreaming with the priority of integrating the gender perspective in the work of the committees and delegations, with concrete tools for the promotion, increased awareness and implementation of the gender mainstreaming principle in their daily work;

General remarks

1.  Reaffirms its strong commitment to gender equality both in the content of EU policies, initiatives and programmes and across the Union’s political, budgetary, administrative and executive levels;

2.  Calls for the new MFF, like the last MFF, to be accompanied by a joint declaration by Parliament, the Commission and the Council, committing them to ensure that the annual budgetary procedures applied for the MFF integrate, as appropriate, gender-responsive elements, taking into account the ways in which the overall financial framework of the Union contributes to the objective of achieving equality and ensures gender mainstreaming;

3.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to present a genuine European Equality Strategy in the form of a communication that contains clear and, as far as possible, quantifiable objectives and to have this translated into all official EU languages in order to ensure greater distribution and understanding for citizens and social and economic actors;

4.  Considers that Parliament should create and foster a culture of diversity and inclusion and a safe working environment for everyone, and that cross-cutting measures to ensure the well-being of all staff and MEPs should go hand in hand with targeted measures to achieve gender-balanced representation both at administrative and political level;

5.  Insists that gender mainstreaming can also mean introducing specific actions targeted at women or at men to tackle persistent inequalities or changing mainstream policies to accommodate a diversity of circumstances for individuals or groups;

6.  Applauds male and female role models for gender equality as well as initiatives both in the Parliament administration and at political level which actively contribute to gender equality and equal opportunities; further encourages the promotion of different role models for overcoming all kinds of gender stereotypes;

7.  Stresses that achieving gender equality is not a women’s issue, but one that should involve the whole of society;

8.  Regrets the fact that Parliament’s visual communication sometimes uses gender stereotypes as well as stereotypes based on sexual orientation and gender identity; recalls, in this respect, the importance of representing and promoting gender equality in communication materials in all policy sectors; 

9.  Recalls that mainstreaming gender covers policy choices, the decision-making process, procedures and practices as well as implementation, monitoring and evaluation; stresses, therefore, that in order to comprehensively assess the state of play of gender mainstreaming in Parliament, not only policy content, but also gender representation in the administration and in decision-making should be taken into account;

10.  Expresses concern that female representation in Parliament’s key decision-making positions at the political and administrative levels remains low and that Parliament needs to ensure that the allocation of decision-making positions is evenly spread between genders;

11.  Regrets the lack of coherence and coordination between the various bodies working on gender equality and diversity in Parliament; reiterates its call to improve internal coordination in order to achieve a higher degree of gender mainstreaming, including in staff recruitment, the organisation of work, working decisions and procedures;

12.  Applauds Parliament’s decision to honour Simone Veil, the first woman President of an EU institution and a staunch promoter of women’s rights, notably legal abortion and reproductive rights, by renaming the Equality and Diversity Award after her, as a means of highlighting and recognising good practice and role models in equal opportunities within the European Parliament Secretariat; recommends increasing the visibility and ensuring greater awareness of this important award;

13.  Stresses the importance of dialogue with external stakeholders such as civil society women’s organisations, grassroots women’s rights and gender equality groups, women’s movements, notably the Ni Una Menos global movement, international institutions, academia and national parliaments in developing tools and collecting data; recalls that their mobilisation is important in improving EU gender mainstreaming processes and in fostering reciprocal exchanges to promote best practice;

Gender mainstreaming tools

14.  Calls for effective measures to ensure genuine equality between men and women in the European Parliament; emphasises in this context that, above all, measures to counteract sexual harassment are of paramount importance; highlights in particular the need for awareness raising and training measures;

15.  Welcomes the revised guidelines on gender-neutral language in the European Parliament, published in July 2018, which now better reflect linguistic and cultural developments and provide practical advice in all official EU languages on the use of gender-fair and inclusive language; recalls that Parliament was one of the first international organisations to adopt multilingual guidelines on gender-neutral language in 2008; recalls the importance of building broad public acceptance of the guidelines and invites all Members of the European Parliament, as well as officials, to promote and apply these guidelines consistently in their work;

16.  Recognises the work of the Gender Mainstreaming Network, welcomes the inclusion of representatives of the Conference of Delegation Chairs to the gender mainstreaming network and calls for further development of this network;

17.  Welcomes the fact that most of the parliamentary committees have adopted action plans on gender mainstreaming for their work and that many have already presented them to the Gender Mainstreaming Network; calls, therefore, on the remaining few committees to follow suit; notes, however, the heterogeneity of these plans and the lack of implementation thereof; calls for the adoption of a common gender action plan for the European Parliament which should, at least, contain provisions regarding equal gender representation in all parliamentary work and all of Parliament’s bodies, the introduction of a gender perspective in all its policy activities and in its working organisation and the use of gender-neutral language in all documents; requests that the Rules of Procedure be amended accordingly;

18.  Regrets that in the last reform of the Rules of Procedure, procedures to implement gender mainstreaming were not included;

19.  Welcomes the progress made over recent years in adopting gender action plans in most of Parliament’s committees;

20.  Calls for closer cooperation among the parliamentary committees aimed at bringing a real gender dimension to their reports and stresses the importance for all parliamentary committees of showing respect for the competences of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, both by accepting the gender mainstreaming amendments tabled by the Committee and by working together to avoid conflicts of competences;

21.  Reiterates the importance of the application of gender budgeting at all levels of the budgetary process; deplores the absence of gender budgeting mechanisms in the EU institutions, despite a strong commitment to them; urges Parliament’s responsible bodies to incorporate the gender perspective and use gender indicators when drafting and adopting Parliament’s estimates, and throughout the discharge process; 

22.  Welcomes Parliament’s resolution of 26 October 2017 on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU; emphasises that sexual harassment is a serious crime that goes underreported in most cases, an extreme form of gender-based discrimination and one of the biggest obstacles to gender equality; welcomes the Bureau decision of 2 July 2018 to revise the functioning of the Advisory Committee dealing with harassment complaints concerning Members of the European Parliament and its procedures for dealing with complaints, while strongly approving Article 6 which states that two expert advisers – one medical officer from the Medical Service and one member of the Legal Service – shall be appointed by the Secretary-General, as well as the addition of Article 34a to the Implementing Measures for the Statute for Members of the European Parliament, concerning the financial consequences of a proven case of harassment of an accredited parliamentary assistant (APA);

23.   Welcomes the new measures, as called for in Parliament’s resolution of 26 October 2017, against harassment taken by Parliament, which entered into force on 1 September 2018, namely:

a) to provide the Advisory Committee with a dedicated and permanent Secretariat, attached to the Secretariat of the Bureau and Quaestors, with more and specialised, regularly trained staff, dealing exclusively with harassment matters;

b) to allow a second APA representative to participate in the meetings of the Committee, as a full member, in order to address the issues of the restrictive quorum and the APA representative’s workload;

c) to ensure that Parliament’s Rules of Procedure (Articles 11 and 166) include new penalties for harassment as well as a ‘Code of Appropriate Behaviour for Members of the European Parliament in Exercising Their Duties’, that a declaration be developed and signed by each Member when taking up office and submitted to the President, that each Member reads the Code and confirms that he or she will abide by its principles, and that all declarations (signed or unsigned) be published on Parliament’s website;

d) to provide better information to accredited parliamentary assistants regarding the possibility of having all their legal expenses covered by Parliament and of being supported throughout the process;

24.  Nevertheless strongly regrets the slow and inadequate progress in the implementation of other crucial recommendations of Parliament’s resolution; demands that full and undivided attention be given by Parliament’s President and administration to the full implementation of all requested measures, in particular by means of the 2017-2019 roadmap on ‘preventive and early support measures to deal with conflict and harassment between Members and APAs, trainees or other staff’, which should be revised as soon as possible to adequately include at least the following demands of the resolution with a clear timeline for implementation:

a)  provide mandatory training for MEPs and staff;

b)  establish a task force of independent, external experts to be convened with a mandate to examine the situation of sexual harassment in the European Parliament and the functioning of its two harassment committees;

c)  strengthen the anti-harassment committees by merging them into one sole committee with a variable composition depending on the case under examination and including experts such as lawyers and doctors as standing members of the committee;

25.  Calls on the Commission in this context to further monitor the regular application and implementation of Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation, which provides for a shift of the burden of proof in cases of gender discrimination;

26.  Repeats its call on the European Parliamentary Research Service to carry out regular detailed qualitative and quantitative research on the progress of gender mainstreaming in Parliament and the functioning of the organisational structure dedicated to it, as well as to develop gender impact assessments and gender-based analysis; calls for increased, systematic and periodic collection of gender-disaggregated data and statistics in policy and programme impact assessments as well as in the policy making process in order to analyse the advancement of gender equality, to give an accurate map of gender gaps, to assess achievements or regression and to inform evidence-based decision-making;

27.  Reiterates its call for mandatory training on respect and dignity to be organised for all MEPs and staff and in any case at the start of the new mandate;

28.  Recalls the importance of building gender mainstreaming capacity within all the EU institutions by making sure that training provided is gender sensitive and by providing for specific training programmes on gender equality in all policy sectors; expresses its full support for developing targeted and regular gender mainstreaming training, and for specific training programmes for women with leadership potential; encourages the Directorate-General for Personnel to provide gender mainstreaming training for Members, assistants and staff of the European Parliament, and Parliament’s political groups to provide gender mainstreaming training for their staff;

29.  Welcomes the Gender-sensitive Parliaments Tool developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) to assist the European Parliament, national and regional parliaments in assessing and improving their gender sensitivity; calls on Parliament’s administration and political groups to ensure adequate follow-up of the findings of the assessment and evaluation;

30.  Calls on the EIGE to regularly submit information to the parliamentary committees and to the Commission in order to underline the gender perspective in all areas of policy making and to make available the data and tools it has developed, including on gender budgeting as placed on the gender mainstreaming platform, as part of a broader capacity-building exercise, addressed also to staff and parliamentary assistants;

Political level

31.  Commends the appointment in 2016 of the standing rapporteur on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament and the standing rapporteur’s active involvement in the work of the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity; recommends, therefore, that Parliament maintain this position for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term;

32.  Believes that stronger interinstitutional relations in the field of gender mainstreaming can help develop gender-sensitive EU policies; regrets that no structured cooperation on gender mainstreaming has yet been established with other institutional partners, such as the Commission, the Council and the EIGE;

33.  Points to the importance of increasing the presence of the under-represented gender, often women, on electoral lists; strongly encourages the European political parties and their party members to ensure a gender-balanced representation of candidates for elections to the European Parliament in 2019 by means of zipped lists or other methods such as parity lists; commits itself to balance between men and women at all levels;

34.  Calls on Parliament’s political groups for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term to ensure a gender-balanced composition of the bodies governing the European Parliament and recommends that they put forward both male and female Members as candidates for the positions of President, Vice-President and Bureau Member, and the Chairs of committees and delegations, in view of achieving this goal;

35.  Recommends that Parliament’s political groups for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term each elect two Members, one male and one female, for the position of group co-President;

36.  Encourages Parliament's political groups for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term to take into account the goal of achieving equal gender representation when nominating Members to all committees and delegations, and especially to nominate a gender-equal number of parliamentarians as members and substitutes of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, in order to encourage the involvement of men in gender equality policy;

37.  Suggests exploring ways to establish a women’s network within Parliament, integrating national networks, since formal or informal networks not only improve work processes but are also a key element in providing information, mutual support and coaching, as well as delivering role models;

38.  Encourages Parliament’s political groups to adopt a gender mainstreaming strategy to ensure that their proposals take into account their impact on gender equality;

39.  Invites the Secretary-General and the Bureau to apply the same principle for the attribution of senior management posts as for the attribution of Head of Unit posts, i.e. to make it compulsory that shortlists include three suitable candidates with at least one candidate of each gender, while stating that, if all else is equal (e.g. qualifications, experience), the under-represented gender should be preferred; notes that if these requirements are not fulfilled, the post should be re-advertised;

40.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the misogynistic language used on several occasions in the plenary chamber; welcomes the sanctions imposed by the President of the European Parliament and confirmed by the Bureau against a Member of the European Parliament for remarks made during the plenary session of 1 March 2017 undermining the dignity of women; is concerned by the decision of the General Court of the European Union of 31 May 2018 to annul the decision of the President and of the Bureau, based both on interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Rules of Procedure and on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights concerning Article 10 of the ECHR (freedom of speech); urges its committee competent for issues concerning the Rules of Procedure to revise the applicable rules with a view to ensuring respect and dignity in the plenary chamber at all times and, in particular, to add a clause requiring Members in parliamentary debates to refrain from adopting language that incites hatred or discriminates on grounds of gender, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or social origin, genetic characteristics, language, religion or belief, political or other opinions, membership of a national minority, disability, age or sexual orientation, and to impose exemplary sanctions in the event of non-compliance with this clause;

41.  Welcomes the availability of professional training courses on unconscious bias and harassment, stresses that such training courses should pay particular attention to gender equality and LGBTIQ issues and be made mandatory for managers and selection board members, and strongly encouraged for all other staff; 

42.  Commends the Commission’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, published in 2017; urges Parliament to use this good example, to fully embrace diversity management and to recognise, value and include staff of different sexual orientations or gender identities;

Administrative level

43.  Welcomes the report by Dimitrios Papadimoulis entitled ‘Gender Equality in the European Parliament Secretariat – state of play and the way forward 2017-2019’ and the roadmap for implementing the report; commends the progress on the implementation of the concrete actions of the roadmap and its clear timeline for specific measures regarding management, professional training, awareness raising on gender equality, work-life balance measures and the regular monitoring of gender balance through statistics; calls for progress to be sped up in order to reach the gender equality targets set for 2019;

44.  Urges the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity to perform a two-yearly structural, point by point assessment of the implementation of the roadmap on gender equality based on a presentation by DG PERS;

45.  Is concerned that despite strong institutional and political statements, gender equality objectives are not explicitly stated in Parliament budget documents nor taken into account at all stages of the budget process;

46.  Suggests that DG PERS produce a questionnaire to be filled out by women, especially those in middle management, on a voluntary basis, enquiring as to their motivation, professional obstacles and opportunities with a view to better understanding the barriers to applying for senior management posts;

47.  Welcomes the yearly report on human resources drawn up by Parliament;

48.  Recalls that as regards the use of measures to improve work-life balance, acceptance by managers and, if relevant, equal take-up by both partners should be specifically encouraged; notes that public awareness of work-life balance in Parliament should be further raised through workshops, training courses and publications; addresses the fact that Members and staff should be well-informed that measures for improving work-life balance, such as maternity/paternity leave, parental leave, carer’s leave and flexible working arrangements, would help achieve gender equality in Parliament, encourage better sharing of caring responsibilities between women and men, improve the quality of women’s employment and their well-being, and have long-term impacts on social and economic development;

49.  Recommends that Parliament’s Directorate-General for Communication include a stronger and more active gender perspective in its reporting of Parliament’s policy-making and especially in preparing the campaign for the European elections in 2019;

50.  Commends the progress made in the Parliament Secretariat on improving gender equality in senior and middle management positions, but notes that despite the fact that the majority of Parliament officials are women, their representation in senior or middle management positions is still very low: at the end of 2017, 15.4 % of Directors-General, 30.4 % of Directors and 36.2 % of Heads of Unit in the Parliament Secretariat were women; recalls, therefore, that when choosing between applicants with the same profile (experience, qualification, etc.) the under-represented gender should be preferred;

51.  Asks for knowledge or experience on gender mainstreaming to be considered as an asset in calls for staff and selection of staff;

52.  Calls on the secretariats of Parliament’s committees to assist their Members in ensuring a gender-balanced composition of the speakers in committee hearings by proposing a gender-balanced list of experts;

53.  Stresses that in order to achieve real progress on improving gender equality in the Parliament Secretariat and political groups, a cultural shift is needed to change conceptual and behavioural attitudes, with the further development of a culture of equality in the Secretariat;


°  °

54.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.


The European Parliament is committed to promoting gender equality, women’s rights and diversity both in its workplace and its policies. One of the means to advance gender equality is by gender mainstreaming the work of the European Parliament.

It adopted its first plenary resolution on gender mainstreaming already in 2003. The main body responsible is the Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) that draws up a biannual report on gender mainstreaming in the work of Parliament's committees and delegations.

FEMM also chairs and coordinates the Gender Mainstreaming Network, set up in 2009, which comprises an MEP and an administrator from each parliamentary committee, as well as two representatives from Conference of Delegations Chairs, appointed to bring gender mainstreaming into the work of their committees and delegations.

Gender mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy towards realising gender equality. It is not the goal in itself, but a means to achieve gender equality by integrating gender perspective into the preparation, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, regulatory measures and spending programmes.

The EU recognises gender equality as a fundamental right, a common value of the EU and a necessary condition for the Union to achieve its objectives of growth, employment and social cohesion. However, the concept of gender mainstreaming is still not very known or is underestimated by many policy makers.

To strengthen EU policies it is necessary to understand how to design, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate policies from a gender perspective. This increases the societal relevance of policies and ensures that the fundamental rights enshrined in the EU Treaties and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights are fully respected.

In this context, gender mainstreaming should be viewed as a continuous process, supported by systematic efforts to integrate gender at all levels, in all areas and into all stages of policymaking and implementation processes.

This latest report takes stock of the state of play inside the European Parliament on promoting and achieving gender mainstreaming, both in its administration and in its policies. It critically assesses progress made over the last two years and gives concrete recommendations on how to further improve the situation.

At the administrative level, and despite high-level declarations and commitment in promoting gender equality and diversity in the work of the European Parliament, the situation remains far from satisfactory. Although women constitute 55% of the European Parliament’s staff, they are still under-represented among at the top political and administrative levels of the Parliament.

The rapporteur applauds the commitment and ambitious “Roadmap 2017 to 2019 implementing the Papadimoulis report on Gender Equality in the European Parliament Secretariat” of the Parliament’s High Level Group on Gender equality and Diversity.

It is now the responsibility of all actors involved to meet these targets and to implement them in line with the clear timelines. At the same time, it is important to remember that achieving real gender equality is not only about meeting quantitative, but also about qualitative criteria, such as the political weight and status of different posts.

In this context, the rapporteur would like to stress once again that gender equality is not just a women’s issue. In fact, men may have a greater responsibility to work towards it, as a group with collectively more power and influence in the European Parliament than women. Because in the end gender equality contributes to a more comprehensive debate and better decision-making as it brings an all-inclusive points of view to the table.

However, gender equality is not just a mere formality that should be promoted. This means that progress towards gender equality in the EP’s secretariat and its political groups can only be achieved by changing the conceptual and behavioural attitudes towards a culture of equality.

One of the challenges to mainstream gender into the work of the European Parliament is the lack of coherence and coordination between many different bodies and organisations that are developing and implementing gender mainstreaming measures and promoting gender equality, equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion.

The European Parliament has bodies in charge of these issues both at the political and at the administrative level.

At the political level:

–  The Bureau

–  The Vice-President with responsibility for gender equality and diversity

–  High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity

–  Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

–  Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

–  Gender mainstreaming network

At the administrative level:

–  The Secretary General

–  DG Personnel

–  The Equality and Diversity Unit

–  The Prevention and Well-being at Work Unit

–  Committee for Equality of opportunity between men and women and diversity (COPEC)

–  Advisory Committee for prevention and protection at work (CPPT)

–  The Group of Equality and Diversity Coordinators

Moreover, the association ÉGALITÉ - Equality for LGBTI+ in the EU Institutions - is considered a key player in the field of gender equality and diversity.

The rapporteur considers that a more coordinated approach among the different bodies would positively influence their impact and effectiveness.

To conclude, the report strongly emphasises the crucial importance of gender equality for the adequate functioning of democracy and for the legitimacy of public decisions made by the European Parliament. The way towards gender equality might still be long but the European Parliament’s work on gender mainstreaming will continue until all remaining obstacles are removed and the gender perspective is fully integrated into all the administrative and policy-making levels of the House.


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Daniela Aiuto, Maria Arena, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Heinz K. Becker, Malin Björk, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, André Elissen, Iratxe García Pérez, Anna Hedh, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Florent Marcellesi, Maria Noichl, Marijana Petir, João Pimenta Lopes, Liliana Rodrigues, Michaela Šojdrová, Ernest Urtasun, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Anna Záborská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Urszula Krupa, Edouard Martin, Clare Moody, Julie Ward

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Lynn Boylan





Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea


Daniela Aiuto


Malin Björk, Lynn Boylan, João Pimenta Lopes


Heinz K. Becker, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz


Maria Arena, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Iratxe García Pérez, Anna Hedh, Edouard Martin, Clare Moody, Maria Noichl, Liliana Rodrigues, Julie Ward


Florent Marcellesi, Ernest Urtasun




Urszula Krupa, Jadwiga Wiśniewska


André Elissen


Marijana Petir, Michaela Šojdrová, Anna Záborská





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Last updated: 3 January 2019
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