Men and women have to be treated equally in the EU. It is a fundamental principle of the Union developed by the European Court and now supported by the treaties. The Court has also outlawed certain national rules allowing special positive treatment for women.
The Lisbon Treaty has "equality" as a value of the Union, see Article 2 TEU. Equality between women and men is mentioned in the second sentence. Many female representatives in the Convention wanted to see that principle in the more important first sentence defining the founding values of the Union. They did not succeed.
According to a judgment of the EU Court, an employer must prove that he or she is not discriminating against women in cases where women are doing similar work to men but receiving lower salaries (case 109/88).
The Convention on the Future of Europe working group on Social Europe held long and vigorous discussions about “equality” between women and men as a common value of the Union.
See also Discrimination.