The Spring European Council of March 2003 asked the Commission to report annually on developments towards gender equality and orientations for gender mainstreaming of policy areas. This report is the fourth to comply with that request.
2006 saw two major events with a bearing on gender equality in the EU: the adoption by the Commission of the Roadmap for equality between women and men for the period 2006-2010, and the adoption by the European Council of the Pact for Gender Equality. These two key initiatives testify to the EU's continued commitment to achieving genuine equality between women and men.
The European Union, which has now been enlarged to 27 Member States, is about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of gender equality policy and the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All. Moreover, equality policy is at the centre of two areas of concern: growth and employment, and demographic change. It will need the full support of the cohesion policy, the new programming period for which begins in 2007.
Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on equality between women and men 2007