In order to achieve gender equality, which is the overarching aim of the strategy, it is important to make the work with gender mainstreaming sustainable and coherent.
Gender equality is enshrined as a fundamental value in the European Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Council of the European Union recognizes that gender equality policies are vital for economic growth, prosperity and competitiveness. The European Pact for Gender Equality (2011–2020) which is legally binding and reaffirms and supports the close relationship between the European Commission’s strategy for equality between women and men (2010–2015) and the Europe 2020 Strategy.
The Structural Funds in general and the European Social Fund in particular are directly involved in strengthening and implementing the gender perspective in European policies and programmes. The European Social Fund has so far been the most prominent financial instrument devoted to promoting equality between women and men.
As a consequence, the plentiful know-how and experience developed over the years is valuable when meeting the challenges that still remain to achieving effective equality of women and men. A sustainable gender mainstreaming process together with specific actions within the ESF will ensure the advancement of European values, but sustainability requires active ownership, guidance and support.
Performing gender mainstreaming in a coherent manner means ensuring that relevant gender gaps and their causes consistently informs all parts of the ESF cycles and processes.. Sustainability refers to the work of establishing a gender perspective as a regular and ongoing part of the ESF.
In order to ensure a sustainable gender mainstreaming process together with specific actions a support structure is of great importance. If you want to read more about support structures and sustainability please see further reading below.