The Council of Europe has been instrumental in promoting equality
and countering discrimination, including on grounds of sex, for
seven decades now. Particularly in the last 30 years, the Organisation
has stepped up efforts to promote gender equality, with considerable
The Council of Europe’s acquis in
this area includes innovating conventions such as the Council of
Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women
and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) and the Council of Europe
Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, as well
as a large number of non-binding texts of the Committee of Ministers
and the Parliamentary Assembly. The case law of the European Court
of human rights also confirms that gender equality is one of the
major principles of the Council of Europe. In addition, the Council
of Europe’s Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023 sets out the priorities
through six strategic objectives and states that the overall goal
of the Organisation in this area is to achieve the effective realisation
of gender equality.
However, a backlash against women’s rights has emerged in
Europe in recent years, in addition to persisting discrimination.
Public authorities in Council of Europe member States should
therefore step up efforts to defend women’s rights and promote gender
equality. Gender mainstreaming, in addition to sectoral policies,
is an effective tool to this end. A wide range of policies recommended
by the Council of Europe should be consistently implemented.