Members' Research Service By / May 12, 2023

Standards for equality bodies: Equal treatment between women and men in employment (ordinary legislative procedure) [EU Legislation in Progress]

The fight against discrimination is an area where, historically, the EU has made a difference.

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Written by Ionel Zamfir (1st edition).

EU equality directives have laid down an obligation for Member States to establish equality bodies, mandated to assist victims of discrimination, and to prevent and fight discrimination on the grounds listed under the directives. The legal provisions are, however, general in nature and do little to define precisely these bodies’ mandate and way of working. This has led in practice to a great divergence among Member States. In some EU countries, lack of resources, insufficient independence or a limited focus on discrimination grounds have been serious obstacles to the functioning of these bodies. Other EU countries have taken a more ambitious approach.

After adopting a recommendation in 2018 on standards for equality bodies and assessing its implementation, the European Commission moved to binding legislation. The proposal, published in December 2022 together with another one as part of the equality package, aims to reinforce the equality bodies’ independence, resources and mandate.

While general welcoming the proposal, stakeholders have suggested specific legal changes to it.

In the European Parliament, the file has been assigned to the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. A rapporteur and shadow rapporteurs have not yet been appointed.


Proposal for a directive on standards for equality bodies in the field of equal treatment and equal opportunities between women and men in matters of employment and occupation, and deleting Article 20 of Directive 2006/54/EC and Article 11 of Directive 2010/41/EU
Committee responsible:Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM)COM(2022) 688
Shadow rapporteurs:Ordinary legislative procedure (COD)
(Parliament and Council on equal footing
– formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Appointment of rapporteurs, draft report

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