Gender equality is the result of the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person’s gender in opportunities and the allocation of resources or benefits or in access to services.
(EC, Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015, amended see notes)
1) “The enjoyment of equal rights, opportunities and treatment […] in all spheres of life. It does not mean, however, that men and women are the same or must become the same”, rather that they should be “free to develop their personal abilities and make life choices without the limitations set by stereotypes or prejudices about gender roles or the characteristics of men and women” (International Labour Organisation)
2) Gender equality means an equal visibility, empowerment and participation of both sexes in all spheres of public and private life. Gender equality is the opposite of gender inequality, not of gender difference, and aims to promote the full participation of women and men in society. It means accepting and valuing equally the differences between women and men and the diverse roles they play in society. Gender equality includes the right to be different. This means taking into account the existing differences among women and men, which are related to class, political opinion, religion, ethnicity, race or sexual orientation. Gender equality means discussing how it is possible to go further, to change the structures in society which contribute to maintaining the unequal power relationships between women and men, and to reach a better balance in the various female and male values and priorities”. (Council of Europe)
This definition was adapted from the definition in the European Commission document ‘Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015’.
It was suggested by the Consortium to replace sex by gender since sex and gender are different concepts as reflected in the definitions below. Since we are talking about gender equality, gender was considered more appropriate. This definition was preferred by most partners and stakeholders since it was argued to be the only non-binary definition (the one that does not distinguish just between men and women) of the available definitions. The problematic nature of a binary understanding of gender was emphasised since there is a whole range of possible positions between the stereotypical understanding of women and men