European Standard on Gender Mainstreaming in the ESF

About (English version): 

The purpose of this STANDARD, produced by The European Community of Practice on Gender Mainstreaming (GenderCoP), is to provide clear requirements and good practices on how to achieve gender equality in all cycles of the European Social Fund (ESF). 

It can be used both as a guide to implement the dual gender equality approach within the ESF and as a tool to assess and monitor existing practices – from policy to project level in all steps such as planning, programming, implementing to monitoring and evaluation.

All examples and good practices have been selected by the GenderCoP members and derive from ESF experiences with gender equality across the EU.

The STANDARD is currently under piloting in four member states which means that it is considered in every part of the ESF. The piloting member states are Beligum (Flanders), Czech RepublicFinland and Sweden.

The STANDARD contains requirements for the implementation of gender mainstreaming and specific actions in the ESF at both the European and national level. At the national level requirements are set out for national or regional operational programmes, national or regional implementation, and projects.

In the STANDARD a general model is used to describe the ESF.

However there may be national differences in terms of the implementation system:

  1. Some member states or regions develop ”programs” out of the ESF thematic priorities and Investment Priorities defined in the operational programmes. These programmes are often run by different Ministries or departments of ministries (for example Germany);
  2. Other member states develop ”action plans” based on the operational programmes which are executed in the regions of the member states (for example Sweden);
  3. A third version of implementation is the tendering of calls for projects directly from the OP priorities with no intermediate bodies (like for instance ministries) inbetween (for example Flanders and Czech Republic).

These different procedures and systems could mean that implementation requirements are not formulated in a programme or an action plan but in other documents steering the implementation. However, the general principles and requirements set out in the STANDARD can be used regardless of implementation system.

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