More of the same, or radical change? Options for the successor to the EU’s Gender Action Plan 2010-2015

Research reports and studies
November 2014
Helen O'Connell
The arrival of the new European Union (EU) leadership team in late 2014 provides an important opportunity to accelerate support for gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights. The EU’s Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development 2010 to 2015 (GAP) runs to December 2015 and discussions are underway on what its successor should comprise.

This paper proposes three options for a successor to the current Plan: 

1.     A Gender Action Plan II that builds on the GAP but aims to sharpen its focus.

2.     A Gender Action Plan Plus that limits accelerated and increased support to two priority gender equality, rights and empowerment areas, and with a focus on process.

3.     A new comprehensive framework and action plan comprising a more ambitious approach, while also building on the GAP. 

However, the success of all three options will depend on certain preconditions being in place: resolute leadership; enhanced gender analytical, including sector-specific, capacity; an informed, sensitive and courageous approach to political dialogue; full use of the menu of development instruments and modalities; meaningful engagement with civil society; and coherent policy-making.

A radical shift in the EU’s approach is needed in order to achieve gender equality and to ensure all women and girls have the right to participate fully in all spheres and contribute to achieving sustainable development.