This paper discusses the extent of EU's facilitation of the attainment of gender equality in the Community. Based on the latest status report provided to the EU bodies, this paper specifies some of the means by which the EU can effectively address gender issues in various disciplines.
Indicative of its significance, the tenet on gender equality has been taken into account in the European Community (EC) Treaties since the formation of the European Economic Community ("Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities" 2005). This is evidenced by the following:
In the Treaty of Rome, principle of equality between men and women was already considered particularly in Article 119 TEC that called for "equal pay for equal work." However, it should be noted that the notion of gender equality was stipulated in order to primarily ensure that the common market would function properly and not directly to address related social issues. As highlighted by France, "equal pay" is a requirement for the prevention of distortions in competitiveness between member states. Nevertheless, the inclusion of gender equality in the Treaty of Rome paved the way for the Commission and the European Court of Justice to actively participate in the promotion of equality between men and women in the labour market then on. (Arribas & Carrasco 2003)
Subsequently, the Cou...
connected with "pay for the same work" or "work of equal value." To broaden the expanse of gender equality, the "Equal Treatment Directive" was adopted so as to cover the fields of employment access, professional training and promotion, and employment conditions. (Arribas & Carrasco 2003)
From the 1970's to the 1980's, various legislations with regard to equal treatment in social security, self-employment and role of spouses were also adopted by the Council. To help achieve EU's stand on gender equality, the Equal Opportunities Unit and Committee on Women's Rights and Equal Opportunities, which directly reports to the European Parliamentary, were created. To have a more methodical approach to gender equality, the Equal Opportunities Action Programme was generated. (Arribas & Carrasco 2003)
The Maastricht Treaty ratified in 1993 ("Wikipedia" 2005) provided for the further safeguarding of gender equality. In line with this, the directives pertaining to pregnancy, maternity and parental leaves, part-time work and burden of proof in discrimination cases on grounds of sex were adopted. Furthermore, the Social Protocol accompanying the said treaty stipulates that the European Community will provide support and complement national action relative to various fields including the promotion of equal opportunities in the labour market. (Arribas & Carrasco 2003)
Similarly, the Amsterdam Treaty of 1999 ("Wikipedia" 2005) introduced a critical advancement in the promotion of equality between men and women. In this treaty, the concept of "gender mainstreaming," the incorporation of a gender perspective in all aspects and levels of policy-making and implementation, was established. In particular, the Council of Europe's group of specialists on