It means that women and men, girls and boys have equal conditions, treatment and opportunities for realizing their full potential, human rights and dignity, and for contributing to (and benefitting from) economic, social, cultural and political development.
For FAO, gender equality is equal participation of women and men in decision making, equal ability to exercise their human rights, equal access to and control over resources and the benefits of development, and equal opportunities in employment and in all other aspects of their livelihoods.
FAO Gender Website (http://www.fao.org/gender/gender-home/gender-why/why-gender/en/).
Gender equality does not imply that women and men are the same, but that they have equal value and should be accorded equal treatment.
The protection and promotion of equality between women and men are recognized as fundamental concepts in the major international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948); the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1979) and its Optional Protocol of 1999; the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989); the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) and its follow-up; the Millennium Development Goals; and, most recently, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the Plenary of the General Assembly on 13 December 2006.