Only if gender and diversity are fully integrated into all EU’s analyses and responses to challenges, crises and conflicts, as well as to the EU’s contribution to rules-based multilateralism, will the outcome be sustainable and will respond to the expectations of our changing societies and their citizens in all their diversity.

The Gender Action Plan III (GAP III) is the main policy framework to realize this. It is our guiding tool when it comes to our external action. The key word is mainstreaming, making sure that gender is integrated as a reflex in our policy documents, position papers, decisions, and Council conclusions. GAP III also includes the notion that we want to lead by example, by establishing gender-responsive and gender-balanced leadership at top EU political and management levels.

Within the EEAS, we continue to improve the conditions for everybody to work, while being able to express fully who we are, as well as to achieve gender balance to produce results that are more sustained and predictable.

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    Gender Equality

    ©Shutterstock/Gender Equality

Gender Equality

The EU has a robust policy framework on gender equality, notably the Gender Action Plan III (GAP III) that, together with the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025, the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, all represent a clear compass to global, regional and local promotion of gender equality and equal opportunities.

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. It is also about ensuring equal economic participation and equal access to education and health, granting everybody equal participation in decision-making, combatting all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence as well as promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The EU is continuously working to strengthen gender mainstreaming in the EU’s foreign and security policy through ensuring a systematic use of a gender perspective, based on solid gender analysis, into all political dialogue, diplomacy and action.

Women, Peace and Security

The EU actively implements the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS Agenda) putting it at the centre of the full spectrum of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy. The implementation of the WPS agenda represents an essential tool in ensuring that the rights, agency and protection of women and girls are observed and upheld at all times, and to confirm that a meaningful and equitable role in decision-making is secured for women of all ages during all stages of conflict prevention, peace-making, peacebuilding and post-conflict rehabilitation. An example of this is the EU Strategic Compass where Women, Peace and Security forms an integral part.

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    Bosnian woman in helmet by computer

    Women, peace and security

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The EU takes action globally to prevent and denounce all forms of discrimination inter alia on the grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, while promoting their access to equal opportunities in all spheres of life. It is important that discriminatory laws, policies and practices are fought worldwide, as they further expose persons in vulnerable situations to unemployment, social exclusion and poverty.

We combat discrimination and promote diversity, both within the EU’s borders and beyond, through a combination of public diplomacy and awareness-raising activities, political and human rights dialogues, capacity building and financial assistance. The EU supports the universal adherence to all the core human right instruments, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities that it is a party to, alongside its Member States.

Ambassador for Gender and Diversity, Stella Ronner-Grubačić
Ambassador Stella Ronner

Achieving gender equality and diversity is a task for everybody and not only for a restricted circle of experts. It is a leadership responsibility, and I want us to accomplish this mission. We intend to lead by example, and one of the ways to do this is by establishing gender-responsive and gender-balanced leadership at top EU political and management levels

In 2021, Stella Ronner-Grubačić from the Netherlands became the first EU Ambassador for Gender and Diversity. Her role is to promote gender equality & diversity within the EEAS and worldwide, through diplomacy, policy decisions as well as in political dialogues bilaterally, regionally and in a multilateral context.

The EU has an important policy tool to help achieving this goal: the Gender Action Plan III. The effective implementation of this Plan provides a framework for action and is a key objective. Within this framework, several areas have been identified that we would like to focus on. First of all, we need to make sure that gender becomes an integral part of our everyday work. We need to streamline it in our external actions, at headquarters, in our delegations and in all our relations with external partners, globally, regionally and locally. We also address intersectionality of gender with other forms of discrimination. Advancing the rights of LGBTIQ persons is the focus of the EU LGBTIQ Equality strategy, to be read in conjunction with GAP III.

This is also about raising awareness, making people aware that our results get better if we ensure the inclusion of all in decision making, in all matters related to peace and security, both within and beyond the EU borders. In order to be credible in our efforts to achieve this, we must practice what we preach.

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Gender Equality in EU Foreign and Security Policy: A Question of Leadership

Ambassador Stella RONNER-GRUBAČIĆ delivers the 9th annual “EU Diplomacy Lecture” organised by the Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges on 13 October 2022.