Mainstreaming Gender in
development Policies and
Programmes
2007
Haifa Abu Ghazaleh
Regional Programme Director
UNIFEM
IAEG Meeting on Gender and MDGs in the Arab Region
Cairo, 10-11 September 2007
The concept

Gender mainstreaming occurred on 1985
Third World Conference on Women in
Nairobi. The idea has been developed in
the United Nations development
community. The idea was formally
featured in 1995 on the Fourth World
Conference on Women in Beijing. Most
definitions conform to the UN Economic
and Social Council formally defined
concept:
Gender mainstreaming
*is the process of assessing the
implications for women and men of
any planned action, including
legislation, policies or programmes, in
all areas and at all levels
*Is a globally accepted strategy for
promoting gender equality
Mainstreaming
*Maistreaming
is not an end in itself but a
strategy, an approach, a means to achieve the
goal of gender equality.
*Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender
perspectives and attention to the goal of gender
equality are central to all activities - policy
development, research, advocacy/ dialogue,
legislation, resource allocation, and planning,
implementation and monitoring of programmes
and projects
Mainstreaming Gender in Policies
Mainstreaming is a way of ensuring that
policy and decision-making take account
of men’s and women’s different interests
and needs.
The aim is for policy to make a genuinely
sustainable contribution to equality
between men and women, rather than
unintentionally increasing inequality in
some unforeseen way.
Mainstreaming Gender in Policies
Gender mainstreaming decision-making on
policy measures and priorities has to be
organised and documented in such a way as to
do justice to the differences between men and
women.
 Gender mainstreaming process and its
outcome shows that great care has been taken
in dealing with men’s and women’s specific
opportunities, obligations and rights.

The importance of Gender
Mainstreaming
Throughout the world, women suffer
disadvantage. There are differences from
country to country and region to region,
because disadvantage is caused by cultural,
historical and social factors.
Nonetheless ,agreements have been made – by,
for instance, the UN member states - on
improving the position of women and on the
efforts governments and non-governmental,
private
and multilateral organizations must
make towards this goal.
Gender mainstreaming should
lead to changes
*
A policy need to be gender aware if it is to
address/ reduce gender inequalities otherwise
policies would actually reinforce further
oppression/ discrimination.
*Through policy-making and implementation
,Gender mainstreaming should lead to changes
in the structure of the mainstream.
* In other words, policy must respond promptly
to changes in requirements, interests, and
perceptions with regard to men’s and women’s
social roles, and promote equality.
Gender mainstreaming should
lead to changes
* It should not have Unintentional side
effects which worsen the position of
women Through policy-making and
implementation,
* Gender mainstreaming requires sound
knowledge – gender expertise – on the
way in which the differences between
men’s and women’s power positions
manifest themselves in society side
effects which worsen the position of
women.
Why Gender Mainstreaming

Recognition of the need for a combined
strategy to address women empowerment
issues including selected focus of
channeling assistance to women, as a
target group, to a more mainstreaming
approach of promoting gender equality as
a development goal
Why Gender Mainstreaming
*Ensure that the needs of both are taken on board
during policy development, implementation – M
and E.
*The need of collective process of articulating a
shared vision sustainable human development
and translating it into reality (through policy,
programmes and budgets) hence the need for the
effective participation of both women and men.
Why Gender Mainstreaming

It is a commitment to ensure
concerns and experiences of both
women and men are integral to the
design, implementation, monitoring
and evaluation of all legislation,
policies and programmes

It concerns the staffing, procedures,
programmes and culture of
development organizations
Why Gender Mainstreaming

It advances women to reach their
developmental potential since
programs and policies will be
analyzed from the perspectives of
men and women.

Recognizes gender equality as
critical to the achievement of other
development goals including poverty
reduction
Why Gender Mainstreaming

It minimizes negative impacts by
ensuring that needs and concerns are
addressed.

It ensures development programs
and policies are people centered and
sustain the effects of development
CHALLENGES FOR MAINSTREAMING
GENDER IN
POLICY FORMULATION /
PROGRMMES / STRATEGIES

Limited adoption of gender
mainstreaming approach from the
beginning of policy processes i.e.
from situation / problem analysis,
prioritization / policy choices,
implementation, M and E and impact
tracking.
CHALLENGES FOR MAINSTREAMING GENDER IN
POLICY FORMULATION / PROGRMMES /
STRATEGIES

Limited and uncoordinated
institutional mechanism for gender
mainstreaming at national / Sectoral
levels.

Information and knowledge gaps:
Lack of Gender Disaggregated data in
most of the Government sectors and
Departments such as Health and
Education.
CHALLENGES FOR MAINSTREAMING GENDER IN
POLICY FORMULATION / PROGRMMES /
STRATEGIES

Lack of technical backstopping to support on
gender mainstreaming efforts at various levels.

Unsustainable institutional gender capacity
including conceptual clarity on gender
mainstreaming (skills, systems, tools,
accountability) for effective implementation and
monitoring .

Difficulty in developing tangible gender indicators
because most of the gender indicators are
qualitative.
OPPORTUNITIES
Availability of gender disaggregated data
in some sectors / research.
 Collaborative efforts between Government
and CSOs working towards improving the
interpretation of various policies such as
poverty , education , health and legal
frameworks.
 Capacity / skills building to staff from
sectors / programmes / projects for
gender mainstreaming and advocacy in
the country.

RECOMMENDATION
*For effective mainstreaming of Gender in
development policies, the following are
recommended:
*Capacity building / strengthening of
various actors involved in development
policies / programmes and strategies on
gender issues, monitoring and evaluation
RECOMMENDATION
Lobby for adequate budget and funds
both from the government and
development partners.
 Gender activities should be properly
funded just as any mainstream
activity.

RECOMMENDATION
Development programmes / Polices to
build gender and pro-poor priorities
in a mainstreamed and interlinked
way e.g. all strategies with gender
approaches to link to: Violence
issues; Good governance, HIV/AIDS,
etc.
Thank you
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Gender mainstreaming