The EU has a long-standing commitment to gender equality. But too little has been done to mainstream gender: in other words, to systematically and actively promote gender equality in policy-making and in spending the EU budget. Necessary prerequisites are still missing, according to a report published today by the European Court of Auditors.
The idea behind gender mainstreaming is simple: gender needs to be taken into account at all stages and in all areas of policy-making and policy implementation. Gender-responsive budgeting is not just about funding explicit gender-equality initiatives. It is about understanding the impact of budgetary and policy decisions on gender-equality goals, and using this information to adjust for inequalities by introducing changes to public expenditure and revenue.
“Gender equality is a fundamental EU value”, said Eva Lindström, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “Commitments have been made, but progress towards achieving equality is too slow. Gender equality is at stake in Europe, and we know that effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are not gender-neutral. It is high time that the Commission acted and began to use gender budgeting in the new 2021-27 budget cycle, and in the Next Generation EU Instrument.”