Gender equality refers to the equal opportunities and treatment of women in relation to men and to equity in both public and private life. Law 202/2002 defines equality of opportunity and treatment between women and men as “taking into account the different abilities, needs and aspirations of men and women respectively and treating them equally”.
Gender equality therefore emphasizes fairness and non-partisanship and not – as is often mistakenly believed – the application of identical standards to women and men. Inherent biological differences as well as strong socialization towards different roles and expectations from women and men make these two categories differ in certain aspects of public and private life (apart from the numerous similarities). In a broader sense of the concept – gender equality also includes people with a minority gender identity, transgender people and non-binary people, as well as other people from the LGBTQ community.
Gender equality is not just about women, but involves and targets both women and men, taking into account the interests, needs and priorities of both. Gender equality does not mean that women and men will become the same, but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they were born female or male.
It follows that gender equality encompasses the removal of all forms of discrimination based on a person’s sex and/or gender, as well as the removal of barriers to women’s and men’s equal access to political, economic and social life. In other words, it includes:
- Equal treatment;
- Equal opportunities/opportunities;
- Equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for men and women, girls and boys, as well as non-binary and transgender people;
- Equal treatment of the different capacities, needs, and aspirations of all people, regardless of their gender;
- Removing barriers that prevent a person, regardless of gender, from using their full potential;
- Visibility, autonomy, responsibility and equal participation of women and men in all spheres of public and private life.