Communiqué issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for the Economy, Finance and the Recovery and the Ministry for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunity - International Women’s Day: toward an international standard on gender equality (Paris, 8 Mar.2021)


The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, as well as the Ministry for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, together with the French National Standards Association (AFNOR), are announcing the launch of an initiative aimed at establishing an international standard on gender equality.

Under the high patronage of President Macron, this initiative follows on from the French presidency of the G7 in 2019 and the awarding of the gender equality event label to the Biarritz summit. It is aimed at developing a normative reference in France which could provide a basis for the development of an international standard. This initiative reflects France’s determination to promote feminist diplomacy. It complements the commitments made within the framework of the Biarritz Partnership aimed at ensuring the effective implementation of laws and measures to promote gender equality.

The national normative reference, entitled AFNOR-SPEC, will constitute a technical guide bringing together best practices relating to the internal and external dimensions of the activities of French organizations of all types – both public and private -, including companies. This approach, focusing on voluntary recommendations in support of regulatory measures, allows for cooperation with all interested parties (associations, companies, communities, public authorities) and will promote structural transformations within organizations.

The guide will cover the following topics:

  • education, access to education and training;
  • health and sexual and reproductive rights;
  • prevention and elimination of violence to girls and women;
  • the rights of women and girls, the prevention and fight against gender-based discrimination;
  • Economic empowerment of women and participation in public and economic life.

The drafting of this guide began on January 26 during a working meeting. A recording of this meeting is available here:

The guide will be published in June 2021, in the run-up to the Generation Equality Forum, which will mark the transition toward the second phase of the project, the goal of which will be the creation of an international standard, calling upon other countries to join the initiative.