Gender equality is a fundamental right in the European Union. Increasingly, research is showing that women are a necessary factor in achieving the European Union's objectives of growth, employment and social cohesion. As women begin to make up a greater proportion of the workforce, trade unions are beginning to realise the benefits that women can bring to their structures in terms of increased membership and diversity. However, an increased presence of women in areas of public life does not automatically lead to an increase in equality. The process of achieving gender equality is more complicated; it requires commitment and political will for real progress to be made. For many trade unions achieving gender equality has not been a high priority to date. However, by demonstrating that they are an equal opportunities employer and a promoter of equality for all, the trade unions can reinforce their credibility and demonstrate their relevance.
This report focuses on what trade unions can do to increase gender equality within their own structures and wider society by using gender mainstreaming. Whilst it does not set out to cover all aspects of gender equality and mainstreaming, it does aim to provide a sound starting point for trade unions with regard to the main concepts and practices that can be implemented.

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Table of contents

Women in trade unionsMethods and good practices for gender mainstreaming_2006