Equality between men and women exists when both sexes are able to share equally in the distribution of power and influence; have equal opportunities for financial independence through work or through setting up businesses; enjoy equal access to education and the opportunity to develop personal ambitions, interests and talents; share responsibility for the home and children and are completely free from coercion, intimidation and gender-based violence both at work and at home.

Gender equality means that women and men, and girls and boys, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections. It does not require that girls and boys, or women and men, be the same, or that they be treated exactly alike. Usually, people think of gender equality as relating only to women, as they are often more frequently discriminated against or excluded from decision making and access to social and economic resources. For this reason, a key part of promoting gender equality is a focus on the empowerment of women.

But men can face gender equality issues as well. In the power sector, examples include the assumption that certain jobs (for example, administrative roles) are just for women – or negative views of men who wish to play an active caregiving role at home with their children.