Gender mainstreaming is the practice of systematically considering gender when preparing, designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating policies and activities. The European Court of Auditors is conducting an audit to assess whether the Commission has used gender mainstreaming in the EU budget to promote equality.
Gender equality is one of the fundamental values enshrined in the EU treaties. Failing to promote equality may have significant negative effects on jobs, productivity and GDP growth, according to a recent study by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). EIGE also found that although there had been progress on gender equality within the EU since 2013, progress was uneven across Member States.
Already for the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF), the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission agreed to apply “gender-responsive elements” where appropriate in budgetary procedures. However, a recent internal spending review of current EU programmes found that gender equality had not been mainstreamed across the EU budget in the same way as climate change or biodiversity. Instead, specific programmes, mainly those tackling employment and social issues, had been used to address discrimination based on gender.
“Taking into account gender when deciding and implementing the EU budget is crucial in promoting equality between women and men”, said Eva Lindström, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit. “We want to see whether the Commission has applied this principle in the EU budget. This is an important analysis to undertake with negotiations for the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework currently ongoing”.