Development days: EU must continue to build on progress made

Written by Linda McAvan on 5 June 2018 in Opinion

The EU has made progress on its gender action plan, but much more is needed to meet our SDG goals, writes Linda McAvan.

Linda McAvan | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

In a year where gender has been a front-page issue around the world, from #MeToo to the gender pay gap in organisations like the BBC, it is fitting that this year’s European Development Days will also focus on women and girls in sustainable development.

This is not a new theme in the development community; both the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals have tried to target gender equality. 

Yet despite these frequent commitments on paper, in reality we still have a very long way to go. The EU is committed to promoting gender equality throughout all of its external policies in its 2015 gender action plan. 


This set several key targets - from increasing the number of projects with a gender dimension to a culture change in how the EU services operate, making gender a responsibility of the top management in the EU’s delegations. 

The first report on the implementation of this plan has shown good progress, but we need to go further to make sure that gender is treated as a core competency of all external branches of the Commission.

There needs to be real buy-in from the very top level if we are going to meet our SDG commitment to gender equality by 2030.


About the author

Linda McAvan (S&D, UK) is Chair of Parliament's development committee

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