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Gender Mainstreaming

May 29, 2009, 7:04 AM | Article By: Sarata J-Dibba

The Economic and Social Councils of the United Nations agreed Conclusions 1997/2 defines Gender Mainstreaming as 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. It is a Strategy for making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve Gender Equality and Social Justice."

Gender Mainstreaming entails bringing the perceptions, experiences, knowledge and interests of women as well as men to bear on policy-making, planning and decision making. Mainstreaming should situate gender equality issues at the centre of analyses and policy decisions, medium term plans, programme budgets and institutional structures and processes. This requires explicit, systematic attention to relevant gender perspectives in all areas of the work of the United Nations, World's Organisations and World governments.

While Mainstreaming is clearly essential for securing Human Rights and Social Justice for women as well as men, it also increasingly recognised that incorporating gender perspectives in all different areas of development ensures the effective achievements of their social and economic goals.

Mainstreaming can reveal a need for changes in goals, strategies and actions to ensure that both men and women can influence, participate in and benefit from development processes. This may lead to changes in Organisational structures, procedures and cultures to create organizational environments which are conducive to the promotion of gender equality.

Gender Mainstreaming have been incorporated into the Management of the U.N System, the African Union, ECOWAS and other regional bodies in Africa and other parts of the world.

Still a number of persistent constraints remained to be addressed. E.g.: Lack of understanding of the Strategy; inadequate budgeting for it, patriarchal resistance; conceptual confusion; inadequate understanding of the linkages between gender perspectives and different areas of the work that needs to be done. The gaps of capacity to address gender perspectives once identified.

The lack of understanding "HOW" GENDER PERSPECTIVES CAN BE IDENTIFIED AND ADDRESSED REMAINS one of the most serious constraints.

The Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) calls for a dual strategy: Gender Mainstreaming complemented with inputs designed to address specific gender gaps or problems faced in the promotion of gender equality.

For Gender Mainstreaming (GM) to work, a country needs the inputs of Gender Analysts, Gender Experts (Catalysts) to help the country go through the stages of GM.

Gender Equality (GE), is a goal;

Gender Mainstreaming (GM) is a strategy.

Gender Mainstreaming as a strategy focuses on people as a prerequisite. Research, Disaggregated data, Testimonies of the sexes help its work to become easier.

The most important lesson learnt from Gender Mainstreaming is that incorporating gender perspectives in all areas of societal development is not only important for achieving gender equality but is essential for the achievement of all other important development goals.

Sustainable People-Centred development is only possible when gender perspectives are identified and addressed as integral elements of all areas of government's work.

Priority should therefore be given to addressing the challenges toGender Mainstreaming as an important means of ensuring the full implementation of the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs).