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Thursday, 13 March 2003 - Strasbourg Final edition
Gender mainstreaming in the EP
P5_TA(2003)0098A5-0060/2003

European Parliament resolution on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament (2002/2025(INI))

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the EC Treaty, in particular to Articles 2, 3(2), 13 and 141(4) thereof, and to the case-law of the European Court of Justice,

–   having regard to Article 23(1) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights(1) ,

–   having regard to the 1979 UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW),

–   having regard to the Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing on 15 September 1995,

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2000 on the follow-up to the Beijing Action Platform(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 February 1994(3) , its opinion of 24 May 1996(4) and its resolution of 2 March 2000(5) on women's representation in decision-making,

–   having regard to the Council Resolution of 27 March 1995(6) and to Council Recommendation 96/694/EC of 2 December 1996 on the balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process(7) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 November 1996 on the implementation of equal opportunities for men and women in the civil service(8) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 16 September 1997 on the Commission's communication "Incorporating equal opportunities for women and men into all Community policies and activities"(9) and of 9 March 1999 on the progress report from the Commission on the follow-up to this communication(10) ,

–   having regard to the Resolution of the Council and of the Ministers for Employment and Social Policy, meeting within the Council of 29 June 2000, on the balanced participation of women and men in family and working life(11) ,

–   having regard to its position of 15 November 2000 on the proposal for a Council Decision on the Programme relating to the Community framework strategy on gender equality (2001-2005)(12) , and to its resolution of 3 July 2001(13) on the work programme for 2001,

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 January 2001 on the Commission report on the implementation of Council Recommendation 96/694/EC of 2 December 1996 on the balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process(14) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 September 2002 on representation of women among the social partners of the European Union(15) ,

–   having regard to European Parliament and Council Directive 2002/73/EC of 23 September 2002, amending Council Directive 76/207/EEC on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions(16) ,

–   having regard to the Staff Regulations applicable to Officials and other Agents of the European Community, in particular articles 1(a), 27, second subparagraph, 28, 29 and 45(1) thereof,

–   having regard to the Secretary-General's report "Towards a new staff policy", adopted by the Bureau in October 1997, and to the evaluation report of 22 March 2001,

–   having regard to the reports on equal opportunities in the EP secretariat adopted by the Bureau in 1998 (report by Ms Hoff), in 2000 (report by Ms Lienemann), and in 2002 (report by Ms Lalumière)(17) ,

–   having regard to the COPEC Third Action Plan 2001-2005,

–   having regard to its decision of 10 April 2002 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2000(18) , in particular paragraphs 17-22 thereof,

–   having regard to the hearing on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament held by the Committee on Women's Rights and Equal Opportunities on 17 June 2002 in Brussels,

–   having regard to Rule 163 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Women's Rights and Equal Opportunities and to the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Internal Market (A5-0060/2003),

A.   whereas equality of men and women is a fundamental principle of Community law and, according to Article 2 of the Treaty, is one of the tasks to be promoted by the Community,

B.   whereas Article 3(2) of the Treaty lays down the principle of gender mainstreaming by stating that in all its activities the Community shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality of men and women,

C.   whereas the Beijing Platform for Action endorsed gender mainstreaming as an effective strategy to promote gender equality and stated that governments and other players "should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes, so that before decisions are taken an analysis is made of the effects on women and men respectively",

D.   whereas gender mainstreaming involves the (re)organisation, improvement, development and evaluation of policy processes, so that a gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies, at all levels and at all stages, by the actors normally involved in policy-making"(19) ,

E.   in view of the fact that gender mainstreaming leads to a fairer and more democratic society in which both women and men can participate, and that full use can be made of human resources by taking into account the diversity represented by women and men,

F.   whereas the policy of gender mainstreaming complements and does not replace specific equality policies and positive actions as part of a dual approach to achieving the goal of gender equality,

G.   whereas positive actions are set out in Article 141(4) of the EC Treaty (in the field of employment and occupation), Article 4 of the CEDAW, Article 23(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, and in the Council Recommendation of 13 December 1982 on the Promotion of Positive Action for Women,

H.   whereas, since 1996, the Commission has adopted a policy of gender mainstreaming and incorporation of equal opportunities for women and men in all Community activities and policies,

I.   whereas the Commission has signalled commitment at the highest level by setting up the Group of Commissioners on Equal Opportunities; it has further set up an organisational structure in each DG and division and has developed tools to mainstream policies and to monitor the gender mainstreaming process,

J.   whereas the Danish Presidency of the Council has put forward an ambitious approach to mainstreaming gender in the work of the Council,

K.   whereas balanced participation in decision-making by women and men is an important prerequisite for achieving a gender-sensitive policy and thus forms an integral part of a gender mainstreaming approach,

L.   whereas despite the steady increase in the percentage of women in the EP from 17.5% in 1979 to 31.5% in the 1999 elections, women are still largely under-represented in positions of authority and responsibility in EP political decision-making bodies (in particular in the Bureau, where only two vice-presidents are women, and in the Conference of Presidents, with only one woman as co-president),

M.   recalling that women's participation and representation in politics in several of the candidate countries are lower than the EU average and that the current percentage of women in the European Parliament could decrease if action is not taken to ensure that women are able and willing to run for office in these countries,

N.   considering that women are largely under-represented in the higher ranks of the EP administration, and stressing the lack of progress since the Bureau reports of 1998 and 2000; whereas the report adopted by the Bureau on 3 September 2002 focuses on access for women to posts of responsibility in Parliament (recruitment and appointment, career development) and sets objectives to this end,

O.   whereas in its abovementioned resolution of 18 January 2001 it called for the promotion of gender balance in all policy fields and all committees at EU, regional, national and international level, whereby the representation of either gender should not fall below 40%,

P.   whereas the Lisbon European Council of 23-24 March 2000 recognised the importance of promoting all aspects of equal opportunities in employment and set the objective of increasing the number of women in employment to more than 60% by 2010,

Q.   whereas, according to the abovementioned Council Resolution of 29 June 2000, the objectives of balanced participation by men and women in family and working life and of balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process constitute two particularly relevant conditions for equality of men and women,

R.   recalling that the same Council Resolution called upon the institutions and bodies of the European Community, in their capacity as employers, to implement measures promoting the balanced recruitment and career advancement of men and women with a view to preventing the horizontal and vertical segregation of the labour market,

1.  Commits itself to adopting and implementing a policy plan for gender mainstreaming; the overall objective of this policy is to promote equality of women and men through genuine and effective incorporation of the gender perspective in policies and activities, including decision-making structures and the administration, so that the different impact of measures on women and men is assessed before decisions are taken; this involves quality assurance, which should relate to processes and structures as well as substance and be developed in the context of a gender management approach;

2.  Considers that its policy plan should be based on the following priorities:

   a) signalling political will and commitment at the highest level, by setting up a High-level Group on Gender Equality; this group might be composed of the EP President and Members of the Bureau, Chairs of the relevant committees and the Secretary General;
   b) mainstreaming gender in the activities of the European Parliament through, on the one hand, effective work by the competent committee and, on the other, the integration of the gender perspective in the work of the other committees and delegations;
   c) gender balance in decision-making processes by increasing the representation of women on Parliament's governing bodies, on the bureau of committees and delegations and other posts of responsibility, in the composition of delegations and in other missions such as election observation;
   d) incorporating gender analysis into all stages of the budgetary process as a tool for promoting transparency and equality, ensuring that women's and men's needs and priorities are considered equally and assessing the impact of EU resources on women and men;
   e) an effective press and information policy which systematically takes into account gender equality and avoids gender stereotypes, takes women's needs and perspectives into account and not only provides information about gender mainstreaming but also promotes that policy;

3.  Underlines the need for adequate financial and human resources, so that EP bodies are provided with the necessary tools, including gender analysis and assessment tools, with appropriate gender expertise (research and documentation, trained staff, experts) and with gender-specific data and statistics;

4.  Calls on the Conferences of Committee and of Delegation Chairs to make recommendations to the Conference of Presidents as to how to concretely implement gender mainstreaming in the committees" and delegations" work, on the basis of proposals by its competent committee;

5.  Suggests the following guidelines for implementing gender mainstreaming in the committees' and delegations' policy work:

   appointment of a member (the Chair or a Vice-chair) responsible for implementing gender mainstreaming in the work of the committee/delegation;
   prioritising areas or subjects where gender mainstreaming could be relevant; carrying out a project or an initiative in this area;
   making an annual assessment of the activities and achievements in the field of gender mainstreaming;
   committees and delegations should be assisted in their tasks by members of the secretariat who have received appropriate training and who constitute a network of experts in gender mainstreaming;

6.  Considers it necessary to strengthen the secretariat of the competent committee in order to maximise its operations and to offer appropriate assistance to its members in coordinating the implementation and further development of gender mainstreaming in all policy sectors;

7.  Considers monitoring and evaluation an essential part of the mainstreaming strategy and proposes, to this effect, that its competent committee draw up an annual report on gender mainstreaming in the EP committees' and delegations' work, including the identification and assessment of failures to incorporate the gender dimension; this report would be submitted to plenary; the annual report on gender mainstreaming in EP policy work, combined with the Bureau report on equal opportunities in the EP Secretariat, would represent the state of play of gender equality in the EP as a whole;

8.  Stresses the important role of political parties in implementing gender mainstreaming, changing gender stereotypes through their programmes and activities and promoting women's participation in politics;

9.  Calls on the Conference of Presidents to discuss how gender could be mainstreamed in the activities of political groups, if necessary by amending the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure, and to propose concrete measures to this effect, among other things, in order to guarantee balance between women and men in the Bureau of the European Parliament and in the bureaux of the committees and delegations;

10.  Reiterates its calls upon the Commission to encourage, as it has itself undertaken to do, the applicant countries to establish programmes and campaigns for female politicians and candidates to ensure that they are prepared for the EU institutions and for the 2004 European elections, with the aim of ensuring an increase in the percentage of women members of the European Parliament;

11.  Urges that guidelines for gender-neutral language in EP texts be drafted and that the terminology and language used in EP documents be reviewed; considers that this will require training of all staff involved in administrative drafting and of the translation service;

12.  Calls on the specialised committees to ensure that all programmes and activities financed through the EU budget in their respective fields of responsibility promote gender mainstreaming, and to report yearly on their committee's activities concerning gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting;

Gender mainstreaming in the EP Secretariat

13.  Calls for the implementation of a coherent and comprehensive framework for gender mainstreaming in the EP administration, in close cooperation with the Directorate-General for Personnel and COPEC, and with the involvement of staff representation; this policy plan should coordinate all existing initiatives, indicate objectives and priorities and the means of achieving them, and be complemented by data and gender statistics, indicators, clear targets and benchmarks;

14.  Welcomes the strengthening of the Equal Opportunities Unit in the Directorate General for Personnel and the appointment, in March 2001, of 'equal opportunities correspondents' in each Directorate General; deems it necessary to define clearly the correspondents' role and tasks;

15.  Recalls the opportunity provided for in Article 141(4) of the EC Treaty and the relevant provisions of the aforementioned Directive 2002/73/EC allowing for positive measures to favour the under-represented sex in recruitment, career development and other professional activity;

16.  Considers that awareness-raising, information and professional training are essential to support changes in attitude and behaviour; asks for the introduction of gender mainstreaming modules in the training plans of each DG for staff members at all levels, starting from high-level management, and for a specific programme of conferences and seminars;

17.  Recommends that gender be mainstreamed in all staff policy documents and regulations; existing rules and policy guidelines need to be reviewed from a gender perspective and adapted accordingly;

18.  Recommends that each DG indicate priority areas it considers appropriate for starting gender mainstreaming; results of their action or initiatives in this field would be disseminated in cooperation with COPEC, the Equal Opportunities Unit and the network of equal opportunities correspondents in each DG; successful and particularly interesting projects or initiatives could be presented on International Women's Day (8 March) as best practice;

19.  Calls on the Staff Committee to play an active role in implementing the mainstreaming strategy in the EP secretariat by striving to achieve gender balance in the designation of its representatives on all boards and committees and in the distribution of posts of responsibility among its members; stresses the importance of awareness-raising on gender equality issues and of specific training for the members of the Staff Committee;

20.  Reiterates the importance of achieving gender balance in the decision-making process as an important precondition for achieving a gender-sensitive policy; to this effect:

   a) fully supports the recommendations contained in the 2002 report by Ms Lalumière, as adopted by the Bureau on 3 September 2002, concerning women's access to posts of responsibility and the measures proposed concerning competitions, recruitment and career development;
   b) requests, as a complement to the Bureau recommendations and to the measures contained in the COPEC Action Plan 2001-2005, the introduction of mentoring systems, as part of career guidance, based on the principle of equal opportunities, and a study analysing career progression of female staff in all categories compared with men and of part-time staff compared with full-time staff;
   c) draws attention to the fact that women make up 70.4% of C- grade staff and considers it necessary to accelerate the implementation of measures designed to facilitate moving to a higher category, given in particular the decreasing proportion of women in category B since 1998 (cf. Ms Lalumière's report to the Bureau); such measures would contribute to narrowing the gap in career prospects between women and men;
   d) recalls the need stated by the Secretary-General in his 1997 report to the Bureau "to adapt the working environment to ensure that officials working part time, of whom the vast majority are women, or from home (teleworking), do not experience discrimination as regards training opportunities, promotion, or mobility";
   e) welcomes the progress achieved in ensuring gender balance in recruitment, selection and competition boards; recommends targets for striving to achieve parity in the representation of the administration and the Staff Committee on statutory boards and consultative committees;

21.  Considers working arrangements and measures enabling women and men to combine work and family life for women and men as a priority area in which to mainstream the gender perspective; draws attention to the following issues:

   making the necessary provisions, in particular by means of the systematic replacement of staff working part-time, to ensure that part-time working is granted in all Directorates-General to staff who request it (see paragraph 21 of its resolution of 10 April 2002) and is considered a valid option for both women and men;
   introducing flexible time schemes, which might better suit the EP's particular working needs and would help staff to combine their professional and private lives more successfully;
   providing adequate and well-organised childcare facilities (crèches, day nurseries, after-school centres, medical care, flexible hours, etc.) in order to accommodate parents, both women and men, employed in the EP, with a view to meeting the increasing needs that will result from enlargement;
   guaranteeing the right to return to the original or an equivalent post after unpaid leave is taken for family reasons and/or parental leave;
   looking into the possibilities of extending teleworking, on a voluntary and temporary basis, to services other than Translation;
   addressing issues of the general organisation of work, in particular long working hours, late meetings and missions;

22.  Considers it essential to ensure that human dignity, privacy and integrity are respected and harassment at the workplace combated; recalls that, according to some research, women are more frequent victims of harassment than men(20) ; expects the Advisory Committee on Psychological Harassment, set up in 2000, to play an increasingly effective role in preventing and combating harassment;

23.  Supports the anti-discrimination provision, in line with Article 13 of the Treaty, and the reversal of the burden of proof in cases where direct or indirect discrimination may be presumed, as put forward in the Commission proposal for a Council regulation amending the Staff Regulations of officials and other servants of the European Communities (COM(2002) 213);

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24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, COPEC and the governments of the candidate countries.

(1) OJ C 364, 18.12.2000, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 59, 23.2.2001, p. 258.
(3) OJ C 61, 28.2.1994, p. 248.
(4) OJ C 166, 10.6.1996, p. 269.
(5) OJ C 346, 4.12.2000, p. 82.
(6) OJ C 168, 4.7.1995, p. 3.
(7) OJ L 319, 10.12.1996, p. 11.
(8) OJ C 362, 2.12.1996, p. 337.
(9) OJ C 304, 6.10.1997, p. 50.
(10) OJ C 175, 21.6.1999, p. 72.
(11) OJ C 218 , 31.7.2000, p. 5.
(12) OJ C 337 E, 28.11.2000, p. 196.
(13) OJ C 65 E,14.3.2002, p. 43.
(14) OJ C 262, 18.9.2001, p. 248.
(15) P5_TA(2002)438.
(16) OJ L 269, 5.10.2002, p. 15.
(17) PE 318.444/BUR
(18) P5_TA(2002)167.
(19) Report by the Group of Experts of the Council of Europe on gender mainstreaming EG-S-MS (98) 2.
(20) EP resolution of 20 September 2001 on harassment at the workplace (OJ C 77 E, 28.3.2002, p. 138).

Last updated: 3 May 2004Legal notice