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The Gender Equality Commission (GEC) is a steering committee of the Committee of Ministers responsible for mainstreaming gender throughout all CoE policies and connecting international agreements related to gender equality with action on the ground. The GEC also holds primary responsibility for overseeing state implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017. Member states may appoint one or more representatives to GEC, as may the European Union, CoE observer states, OSCE, United Nations, OECD, and selected INGOs.

The Gender Equality Commission is responsible for (Gender Equality Commission, Terms of reference 1 January 2016-31 December 2017):

  • Ensuring that a gender perspective is maintained in all activities, committees and bodies
  • Conducting needs assessments and providing advice on developing standards, cooperation and monitoring activities
  • Providing expertise to member states on the development of legislation, policies, practice, training schemes and awareness materials at national level, and facilitating
  • exchange of experience and good practice
  • Supporting the implementation of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy (2014-2017)
  • Supporting governments, parliaments, local authorities, civil society and private sector in achieving gender equality
  • Identifying topics in the field of gender equality and organising thematic conferences to facilitate progress on those topics
  • Advising the Committee of Ministers and the Secretary General
  • Engaging in coordination and joint planning at international level with the European Union, UN Women and other intergovernmental organisations and civil society
  • Building cohesive societies
  • Following the implementation of the non-binding instruments it has prepared and the conventions it supervises
  • Contributing to cooperation and support activities to national initiatives
  • Following the activities of the relevant monitoring and other bodies or convention mechanisms
  • Regularly examining some or all of the conventions for which it has been given responsibility

How does it help tackle violence against women?

Council of Europe Transversal Programme on Gender Equality (Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017)

The Council of Europe Transversal Programme on Gender Equality was developed to “increase the impact and visibility of gender equality standards” in CoE member states. The Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017 which forms part of the programme sets out 5 strategic objectives:

  1. Combating Gender Stereotypes and Sexism
  2. Preventing and combating Violence against Women
  3. Guaranteeing Equal Access of Women to Justice
  4. Achieving Balanced Participation of Women and Men in Political and Public Decision-Making
  5. Achieving Gender Mainstreaming in all policies and measures

As the CoE body with primary responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the Transversal Programme, the GEC’s work is built on approaches to tackle VAW and achieve gender equality. For example, the GEC organised a series of events on women’s equal access to justice, dedicating the first event on women victims of violence. It has also worked with the European Court of Human Rights to develop materials and approaches on tackling violence against women, including a manual on ‘Equal access to justice in the case-law on violence against women before the European Court of Human Rights’.

iconLockWant more? You can access the GEC’s publications and learn more about its work

National Focal Points

National Focal Points (NFPs) were established to support the implementation of the Transversal Programme. Each serves as a link between CoE actors and national institutions and actors responsible for promoting gender equality.

Individually, the GEC supports the work of the NFPs to promote international standards on gender equality at the national level and aiding implementation of the 5 strategic objectives on the ground. The GEC also supports the work of the NFPs collectively, organising an annual thematic conference to build networks for sharing experiences and good practices to progress gender equality.

iconLockWant more? View the list of national focal points on gender equality and their contact information

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