The EU is determined to lead by example internally as well as externally, focusing on key areas of engagement as defined in the EU Gender Action Plan (GAP III).

The GAP III calls for a gender equal world as a continuation and building on the work, lessons learned and the achievements of GAP II. The EU has an important role to play in achieving a gender equal world through supporting partner countries to address gender discrimination. The EU will implement GAP III in every aspect of its external action through a gender-transformative and intersectional approach both in terms of GAP III’s geographical coverage and areas of action, as well as gender mainstreaming in all areas of external action.

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First anniversary of the Gender Action Plan III

Gender Action Plan III is EU’s most ambitious policy to achieve gender equality and empower women in its external action.

- HR/VP Josep Borrell

Combatting Gender-based Violence

The EU is a global leader in the fight against gender-based violence. Violence against women and girls is a crime and it is also  one of the most devastating human rights violations in the world. It is many times a life-threatening health issue, which is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms.

Gender-based violence prevents women and girls from fully participating in society. It weakens the social fabric that binds families and communities together, preventing countries from achieving social stability and economic development.

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Promoting Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are crucial for women’s and girls’ right to self-determination. Each individual has the right to have full control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters affecting their sexuality and sexual and reproductive health, free from discrimination, coercion and violence, to lead healthy lives and to participate in the economy and in social and political life. Access to quality and affordable comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information, education, including comprehensive sexuality education, and health-care services is needed.

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Strengthening Economic & Social Rights & Empowering Women & Girls

The EU strives to ensure and strengthen the economic and social rights of women and girls.

In order to be economically independent, women and men in all their diversity should have equal opportunities, equal access to employment, decent work, equal pay for equal work. Furthermore, women and men should equally share care responsibilities and have access to adequate social protection, public services, and financial and business opportunities.

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Advancing Equal Participation and Leadership

The EU is committed to including women at top management levels and ensuring a gender-responsive as well as gender-equal leadership. As enshrined in GAP III, the EU is determined to lead by example to engage women in political life.

Women and girls should participate equally in the public and private sphere, to achieve a functioning democracy and economy, and to fulfil human rights for all. This has major benefits for society as a whole, ranging from the enhanced credibility of democratic institutions to a lower incidence of state-perpetrated violence.

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Implementing the women, peace and security agenda

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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Challenges & Opportunities of Green Transition & Digital Transformation

Women and girls in developing countries are particularly affected by the impact of climate change and environmental degradation, such as ecosystem loss, loss of access to key natural resources, malnutrition and respiratory, water-related and vector-borne diseases.

As primary users and managers of natural resources, women play an essential role for climate change mitigation and adaptation and environmental protection. However, they are prevented from participating equally in related governance processes for multiple reasons, including harmful gender norms, inadequate legal frameworks, low access to education and land ownership.

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