The European Union (EU) is taking steps to improve women’s rights and equality in the southern Mediterranean region. Included in their efforts is a focus on ending violence against women.

Research conducted by the Euromed Gender Equality Programme (EGEP) looked at the status of women’s civil and political rights in this region. As noted in a press release, the studies provide “an in-depth overview and analysis of issues such as legal reforms, women’s participation in decision-making and violence against women.”

The goal of this initiative is to determine the priorities and strategies for future actions to promote gender equality. Findings were to be shared at an event called “Advancements, challenges and priorities for women’s rights and gender equality in the Euromed region”, scheduled for May 5, 2011 in Brussels.

From the press release about the event: “Enhancing Equality Between Men and Women in the EuroMed Region is funded by the EU with a budget of €4.5 million under the European Neighborhood Policy. It aims at promoting three main priorities: support to the current dynamics that favour gender equality and promote women’s rights, and to the full implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and related instruments; contributing to increased knowledge of gender-based violence and support to actions addressing its occurrence and its root causes; and backing the follow-up of the conclusions and the action framework of the Istanbul Ministerial conference on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society.”

More details are available in the press release about the Brussels event, found here.