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EU: Institute for Gender Equality

Commission proposes Institute for Gender Equality

Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, today announced that a new European Institute for Gender Equality will be set up to support the EU institutions and the Member States in promoting equality between women and men and combating sex discrimination.

Hailing the decision, Mr Spidla said: "What better way to celebrate International Women's Day than to propose the creation of a specific agency dedicated to equality for women and men? Gender equality is a fundamental right under the Treaty and a priority policy of the Union. The Institute will play a vital role in providing the expertise needed to develop equality policies across the EU-25. We know that, although progress has been made, more needs to be done, for example, to tackle the gender pay gap which still stands at 15 per cent."

The Institute will be an independent centre of excellence at European level. It will gather, analyse and disseminate reliable and comparable research data and information needed by policy-makers in Brussels and in the Member States. It will have a documentation centre and a library which will be open to the public.

The Institute will stimulate research and exchanges of experience by organising meetings between policy-makers, experts and stakeholders and it will raise awareness of gender equality policies with events including conferences, campaigns and seminars. Another vital task will be to develop tools for supporting the integration of gender equality into all Community policies.

The creation of an institute for gender equality was requested by the European Council in June 2004 and has also been demanded by the European Parliament. It will start operating twelve months after the regulation establishing it has been adopted by Parliament and Council and should be up and running in 2007. It will be funded by the Commission, with a proposed budget of 52.5 million EUR for the period 2007 to 2013.

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