Topic 1 Module 2: Introduction to Gender and Equality

Source: Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

In Module 2, you will find information on the following topics:

  • What is Gender?

  • What is Gender Equality?

  • The History of Gender Equality

  • Feminism

  • Gender Equality – Where are we today?

This module aims to:

  • Introduce the concept of gender equality, its aims and an overview of the history.

  • Introduce the current issues on gender equality and the initiatives that are proposed to fight against gender inequality in Europe.

  • To make participants aware of gender equality issues in different areas.

  • To encourage the growth of gender competence to combat gender bias.

Gender is ‘the relations between men and women, both perceptual and  material. Gender is not determined biologically, as a result of sexual  characteristics of either women or men, but is constructed socially (FAO, 2004). Gender  is culturally shaped of attributes and behaviours given to the different sexes, that are classified as feminine, masculine, androgynous, etc. People express their  gender through their clothing, physical appearance, behaviour and gestures.  (Gender, women and health, WHO)

  • Sex is not identical to gender and gender doesn’t refer to someone’s sex

  • Sex describes the biological differences between men and women

  • Gender is a sociocultural bound term, traditionally used to distinguish people based on a perceived difference between the sexes (WHO, 2015).

Gender equality means that all genders are free to pursue whatever career,  lifestyle choice, and abilities they want without discrimination. Their rights,  opportunities, and access to society are not different based on their gender.

Gender equality is one of the European Union’s core principles, enshrined in its treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR).

Through research, gender equality can be defined as a fundamental human right, something that is essential in order to live in a peaceful and fair society.

The term used from The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women  refers to gender equality as a prerequisite for development and peace. In order  for this to happen, it is necessary to be committed and people to work for them, their children and the challenges of the 21st century.

It is the belief in full social, economic, and political equality for women (

First documented in France in 1837.

In the early 1900’s we saw women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom, but this later evolves to carry more meaning: ‘Intersectional feminism’.

Intersectional feminism is how women face different forms of discrimination based on factors, such as race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

(UN Women: Women of the world, unite!)

The wave of feminism was implemented later in the rest of Europe.

Where are we today and what can be done?

In Module 2, the following aspects of today’s aims for gender equality will be explained:

  • Gender Equality Strategy 2020 – 2025

  • Employment and Pay Gaps

  • Women and Care Work

  • Gender Budgeting

  • Gender Mainstreaming

Check out Module 2 for all this information and more!

Image by Carrie Z from Pixabay

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