On 27 September 2021 Equinet members from across Europe gathered for the network’s Extraordinary Annual Meeting, moderated by the current chair Tena Šimonović Einwalter, to adopt its work plan for the forthcoming year.

In 2022 Equinet will continue advancing equality by providing its expert contributions at both the regional as well as the global levels, with a special focus on the EU and its member states. The network will focus its efforts on supporting the processes of further development, implementation and monitoring of the standards for equality bodies, both at the EU and the member states’ levels, thus feeding into the process of the possible drafting of the new EU-level legislation in this area.

The 2022 Plan also foresees activities in the areas such as rebuilding a fairer Europe after COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to legal and policy developments in combatting online and offline gender-based violence, the implementation of the Work-Life Balance Directive, combating age-based discrimination, protecting the rights of rainbow families, countering antisemitism, tackling discrimination and intolerance against Muslims, AI and equality, exploring the role and potential of equality bodies in responding to climate change, salaries’ transparency, effective engagement with the EU funds, generating and using equality data and research in casework, sanctions and remedies in discrimination cases, positive action measures, equality bodies’ role in implementing the European Pillar of  Social Rights Action Plan, using the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights in discrimination cases, as well as the activities aimed building the capacities of equality bodies themselves so they can engage even more successfully with these complex topics.

Equality bodies play a fundamental role in providing advice and direction to governments, public authorities, the private sector as well as the general public in the areas of equality and antidiscrimination. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made even more acute the need for these institutions to be strong and independent. These are the necessary preconditions for them to be able to carry out their mandates of promoting equality and combatting discrimination effectively, both during the course of the current crisis as well as in the ensuing period of recovery from this massive challenge affecting the lives of millions of Europeans in the course of the past two years.

Equinet currently consists of 47 member institutions from 37 European countries. The network is managed by the Executive Board chaired since 2017 by Ombudswoman Tena Šimonović Einwalter, now serving in her second mandate. More information on the network’s activities is available at https://equineteurope.org/.