Gender Equality is regulated by EU Primary law: EC and EU Treaties, as well as by Secondary law: Directives, Decisions, Resolutions, and Strategies. Case law which ensures the effective and uniform application of Community legislation aims at preventing divergent interpretations of the Community law by national courts.
Gender equality and equal opportunities for women and men is proclaimed in the provisions of the Amsterdam Treaty, signed on 2 October 1997, in force as of 1 of May 1999 as a further development of the provisions of Maastricht Treaty (1992). The Amsterdam Treaty focuses on tackling discrimination of all kinds and providing for equal opportunities for men and women. Further development of the concept are the decisions of the Treaty of Nice (2000) and the Treaty of the European Constitution (2004), which emphasize on the necessity of national action plans for promotion of gender equality.
Amsterdam Treaty amended and renumbered the EU and the EC Treaties. Consolidated versions of the EU and EC Treaties can be found here.
Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, the promotion of gender equality figures among the tasks of the Community (Article 2) of the Treaty Consolidated version and is a transversal objective (Article 3) of the Treaty Consolidated version for it.
Article 13 of the Consolidated version of the EC Treaty entitles the Commission to take initiative to combat discrimination based, among other grounds, on sex.
Article 141 of the Consolidated version of the Treaty is the legal basis for Community measures for equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment.
European Union Directives on equal treatment of women and men
Community Framework Strategy on Gender Equality (2001-2005)
A roadmap for equality between women and men (2006-2010)
For more information on case law visit: http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/gender_equality/legislation/case_law_en.html or http://curia.europa.eu/en/transitpage.htm
To obtain more up to date information on application of the adopted gender equality legislation and amendments as well as discussions for new EU legislation on gender equality see the official portal website of the EU at: http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/equ_opp/rights_en.html#mat