The aim of the structural fund programme is to promote gender equality and reduce gender-based discrimination. Gender equality is promoted through mainstreaming and specific targeted actions.
Mainstreaming means the consideration of the gender perspective in all stages of the structural fund activities. The gender perspective is considered by incorporating it to the preparation, implementation, monitoring, reporting and assessment of the development themes and measures. The gender perspective is included in the project application procedure and selection criteria.
Gender equality is also promoted through specific targeted actions. It means that the programme funds are also used for financing specific gender equality projects. The programme includes an investment priority, which is solely intended for gender equality projects, the aim of which is to reduce gender segregation in work and education. Funding for specific actions can also be provided from other investment priorities for such purposes as supporting enterprises established by women, development of innovation-driven business ideas by women, increasing participation of young men in education and the interruption of the drift towards social exclusion. All activities included in the programme can be developed from the perspective of gender equality.
The role of the gender perspective must be examined in each project receiving funding. The assessment must be based on an analysis of the operating environment and the problem to be solved, in which the focus is on the gender perspective. When the project starting point is assessed, use must be made of the already available qualitative information on the role of the gender in the matter that the project concerns. A project may only be considered gender neutral after a knowledge-based assessment of the role of the gender perspective has been carried out. In ESF-funded projects, more emphasis is given to the gender perspective because the ESF actions are mainly directed at people. Examination of the gender perspective also improves the quality of the project and makes it more effective.