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Gender equality is closely linked to the EC development cooperation’s overarching goal of poverty reduction through its contribution to effective and sustainable development.
The EC approach to gender equality is two-fold: through the strategy of mainstreaming and through specific measures for women. Gender mainstreaming is the process that integrates priorities and needs of women and men of all ages in key EC development and cooperation policies and programmes. This process is reinforced by specific measures to support the empowerment of women through their economic, social, political and environmental roles.

The European Commission pursues the objective of gender equality at the policy and strategic level, through funding both of centralised and decentralised activities that promote gender equality, as well as by building its own capacities for mainstreaming gender in it operations.