What is gender mainstreaming?
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What is gender mainstreaming?
Gender mainstreaming started in Beijing in the year 1995 as a main global strategy for promoting gender equality. It is a global strategy or approach for promoting gender equality. It is described to be the process of the organization, reorganization, evaluation, and improvement of policy processes to incorporate gender equality and transformation during every stage of developing, implementing, and monitoring the policies. However, this process does not necessarily mean that only men and women are brought in the mainstream. In this case, the mainstream should change with an intention of creating space for both women and men to enrich and transform it.
The mainstreaming approach ensures gender attention and perspectives of gender equality goals are vital to all activities which include research, dialogue, policy development, resource allocation, legislation, planning, monitoring and implementation of projects and programmes. Therefore, policies are improved in this process and allows the revision of tools that helps men and women understand how the work they do is gendered.
The importance of gender mainstreaming
- Women empowerment
Gender mainstreaming ensures women are gaining control and power over their own lives. This is done by raising awareness, expanding choices, building their self-confidence, increasing control and access to resources, and transforming institutions and structures which perpetuate and reinforce gender inequality and discrimination. Usually, empowerment comes from within, as women empower themselves, it gives them a more role to promote their needs and interests. This empowerment cannot be achieved without men getting involved in the process of change because it must not automatically imply that men have lost. It is an alternative form of focusing on utilizing strengths of both men and women to work towards a common goal without domination or coercion.
- It improves quality which enhances effectiveness of the administration process. The legislative work and policy making must be of higher quality and more relevant in the society because it brings a positive response to the needs and wants of all citizens.
- It enhances participation process. Many organizations like the OECD and UN want even small policies in gender mainstreaming to be considered by the government because they will have authority and power to bring huge number of people through the policies. On the contrary, if organizations do not undertake gender mainstreaming, it means that they are creating a huge gap of inequality across all borders. Therefore, the participation process will improve if policies are enacted.
- Financial benefits. There is a positive benefit on the GDP per capita through improving gender equality because it grows overtime. This will lead to economic and social growth because the gender pay gap will reduce and improvement of high labor market and education. Hence, building a sustainable and healthy economic society.
- Improving organization’s image. Gender mainstreaming fosters a promising work environment where every employee feels respected and valued by one another no matter the gender and backgrounds. This indiscrimination and fairness improve their morale and makes them a better team increasing performance. Hence, skyrocketing the image and reputation of the company to the outside world as compared to other organization who have not incorporated gender mainstreaming.
Gender mainstreaming has an aim of contributing towards a society which is gender sensitive where opportunities, responsibilities, and solidarity are equally shared between men and women. The challenges facing the implementation of gender mainstreaming with relevant examples on how to overcome them include:
- Traditions and cultural beliefs. The myths and beliefs about women contributing to child bearing, domestic chores, and early marriages causes high drop out rates among women while they are chasing their dreams of equality in society. This should be solved by government sensitizing the community to change the discriminatory cultural practices. For example, government should organize in creating paid control groups that should educate people in the communities on gender attitudes and norms to help in reducing gender gaps.
- Creating awareness. There is lack of awareness on gender policy whereby most men and women are not participating in the council affairs. To solve this challenge, the government should equip the citizens with knowledge on gender mainstreaming. Government along with other organizations should claim ownership of gender mainstreaming to ensure mobilizations and awareness on gender sensitivity. For example, campaigns are one way of creating awareness to gender policy contents and requirements.
- Unfair labor practices. There has been complains overtime that there is no fair in labor practices whereby the economic potential of women is not realized to the maximum. The solution to this is to establish a legal system that can provide decent work for women and fulfil their roles in workplace. For example, the government should provide constant and clear reminder and guarantee of vital rights at work in organizations by keeping in mind on gender equality and find a way to establish how rights and principles are enforced.
- Promotions. Gender inequality has hindered women promotions at work as men are perceived to be the leaders instead. This challenge should be solved by fostering fair and transparency promotion. The gap between men and women should be bridged as well as those of junior and top management staff. For example, the organizations and government should ensure the skills and performance of women are considered to compare their competition with men.
- Resource allocation. Allocation of resources to facilitate gender mainstreaming is minimal. Therefore, enough financial resources must be allocated to help in women participating in projects. Resources to support in creating awareness about gender parity, myths and traditions are also required. For instance, the national budgeting must allocate enough resources to NWMs and other agencies to engage in gender analysis and responsive planning then implementation.
King, A. (2002, January 1). GENDER MAINSTREAMING. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/pdf/e65237.pdf
NAWBO. (2016, August 9). Five Huge Benefits of Gender Equality in Your Business. Retrieved from https://www.nawbo.org/resources/nawbo-one/2016/august/five-huge-benefits-gender-equality-your-business
Wambeti, N. R. (2016, September). FACTORS AFFECTING IMPLENTATION OF GENDER MAINSTREAMING PROGRAMS IN PARASTATALS IN KENYA: A CASE STUDY OF KENYA. Retrieved from http://erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/bitstream/handle/11295/8453/Mwololo%20Peter%20M_Challenges%20Facing%20the%20Implementation%20of%20Gender%20Policy%20at%20the%20Municipal%20Council%20of%20Mavoko.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
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