Gender Mainstreaming

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[edit] Definition

Gender Mainstreaming is a strategy that has as its goal equalization of gender resp. the establishment of equal opportunities for the genders.[1] It "concerns [the] planning, (re) organisation, improvement and evaluation of policy processes so that a gender equality perspective is incorporated in all development policies, strategies and interventions, at all levels and at all stages by the actors normally involved therein".[2]

"Gender" defines the "social sex" of a person, which means the gender identity and role assigend through socialisation. "Sex" in this respect means the biological sex that divides people into male and female.[3] If the 'gender' is not knotted irreversably to a 'sex" means that we can change our gender (as a role and identity) and we are not subordinated to any biological straints. The stereotypical roles of woman and man can therefore be changed, morphed or completely replaced with/by others.

"Mainstreaming" in this context means to put the spotlight on gender in all political, social and individual fields of activity.

[edit] The development of Gender Mainstreaming on the EU-level

The strategy derives of international development policies and has been expanded during the Women's World Conferences. On the european level, Gender Mainstreaming as a directive was lounged within the ratification of the treaty of Amsterdam on May, 1st, 1999. Since then, the member states are obligated to pursue equal opportunities for women and men as a transversal or cross-sectional task (accroding to art. 3, 2). Art. 13 clearly demonstrates anti-discrimination, which does not only consider gender discrimination but moreover every kind of discrimination of identity categores (such as age, ethnicity, religion, disability etc.). Art. 141 refers espescially to the gender equalization of women and men on the labour market, that is, same wage compensation, same treatment and equal opportunities. This article also focusses on positive actions (promotion of the minority gender).[4]

For a development of Gender Mainstreaming in different countries, go to: Gender Mainstreaming in Germany

[edit] The strategy itself

The gender equality strategy Gender Mainstreaming anchors Gender Equalization as a cross-sectional and transversal goal in political activity fields and areas. The implementation of Gender Mainstreaming in all policy fields and subject areas ensures that political programmes, measures or facilities will be analyzed and jugded to their impacts on the equalization of women and men and ensures that approbriate measures will be undertaken to achieve this goal.[5]

Blickhäuser/Bargen underline that the strategy allows to take in regard gender already at the stage of planning and therefore Gender Mainstreaming is a means to achieve a more objective view on gender questions.[6]

[edit] Complement strategy

Gender Mainstreaming is often referred to as a double or dual strategy. This defines the strategy as complementary (in the sense of co-existing and enlarging) to the specific women- and mens promotion measures. In a lot of fields there are still "positive actions" (encouragement of a gender in certain areas) necessary in order to reduce structural discriminations.[7] So it can be said that Gender Mainstreaming belongs to all political fields of intervention, it is an active strategy and regards all and every level. Contrary, the specific measures of promotion are focussing on special target groups and are executed by singular actors.[8]

[edit] Top-Down-Process

Cross-sectional goals are frequently implemented according to the top-down principle, i.e. from top to bottom of the organisation. Suggestions, for example for the planning and development of conceptions, for a guiding principle or for goals of the organisation, etc., originate at the senior level of management and are then passed down the line to the "body" of the organisations. To require and access complete structural change towards the implemenatation of Gender Mainstreaming, there is also the need for the bottom-up-principle, the activation of the "body" of the organisation. This is espescially needed if the goal gender equality goal is not completely anchored as the guiding principle in the organisation.

For a succesful implementation process, a development of gender competences should be initiated.

[edit] Critics on the Strategy

During a first time, critics on the strategy thought that now the women's empowerment or espescially the money needed for women's projects would be cut due to a new strategy. Certainly there has been sometimes the attempt to cut the money off of women's projects as sometimes women's encouragement is subordinated to Gender Mainstreaming but this is not the normal case. Another critical point on Gender Mainstreaming is that the strategy might exclude marginal women, e.g. lesbian or migrant or disabled women (or men).[9]

The Queer theories intervene that Gender Mainstreaming in this regard is also carrying forward and anchoring the biological bias of only two genders.

[edit] References

  1. The Queer-Theories talk of all or the genders and refer to the fact that there are more than 2 genders only.
  2. | European Commission 2006 Toolkit
  3. The Queer-Studies nevertheless stress that also "sex" can be socially constructed and is therefore changeable during a lifetime.
  4. Quelle der EU:
  6. Blickhäuser/Bargen, 2006, p. 22
  7. Wielpütz, Renate, 2005, p.4
  8. Rösgen, Anne 2002, p.5
  9. Roth, Silke, 2004, p.46.

[edit] External Links

GenderKompetenzZentrum (de)

GenderKompetenzZentrum: The Strategy of Gender Mainstreaming

European Legislation on Gender Equality

Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (de)

Österreichische Koordinationsstelle für Gender Mainstreaming im Europäischen Sozialfonds (de)(GeM-Koordinationsstelle)

Gender Mainstreaming in the FCZB (Womens Computer Centre Berlin)

Pollack, Mark A./Hafner-Burton, Emilie (2000): Mainstreaming Gender in the European Union. Paper prepared for presentation at the 12th Biennial Conference of Europeanists, Chicago, 30 March-2 April 2000 (html)

[edit] Sources

Bergmann, Nadja/Pimminger, Irene (2004): PraxisHandbuch Gender Mainstreaming: Konzept – Umsetzung – Erfahrung. Wien. Zu bestellen unter:, Download (pdf)(de)

Blickhäuser, Angelika/Bargen, Henning von (2006): Mehr Qualität durch Gender-Kompetenz. Ein Wegweiser für Training und Beratung im Gender Mainstreaming. Hg.: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. Ulrike Helmer Verlag. Königstein/Taunus.

Butler, Judith (1991): Das Unbehagen der Geschlechter. Suhrkamp. Frankfurt.

Meuser, Michael/Neusüß, Claudia (Hg.) (2004): Gender Mainstreaming. Konzepte – Handlungsfelder – Instrumente. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung Schriftenreihe Band 418. Bonn.

Roth, Silke (2004): Gender Mainstreaming - eine neue Phase der Frauenbewegung. In: Meuser, Michael/Neusüß, Claudia (Hg.: Gender Mainstreaming. Konzepte – Handlungsfelder – Instrumente. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung Schriftenreihe Band 418. Bonn, p. 40-51.

Rösgen, Anne Dr. (2002):Aktueller Stand der Gender Diskussion. Erfahrungen bei der Umsetzung in Politik und Verwaltung. Beitrag zum ExpertInnen-Workshop „Arbeitsmarkt und Gender Mainstreaming – Herausforderung für Politik und Verwaltung“ am 20.6.2002 im Tagungshaus BlauArt, Potsdam-Hermannswerder (Überarbeitete Schriftfassung) ProInnovation_Potsdam (pdf)(de)

Stiegler, Barbara (2000): Wie Gender in den Mainstream kommt: Konzepte, Argumente und Praxisbeispiele zur EU-Strategie des Gener Mainstreaming, Bonn. Expertisen zur Frauenforschung)- ISBN 3-86077-881-1 Electronic ed.: Bonn : FES Library, 2000. Electronical Document

Wielpütz, Renate: Gender Mainstreaming Background und Kontext. In: GemCITE (2005): Gender Mainstreaming Concept for IT Education. Ein Handbuch zur Entwicklung und Verbesserung der Qualität von IT-Aus- und Weiterbildungen als Beitrag zur Gleichstellung von Frauen und Männern Download (pdf)

[edit] Related Articles

Implementation of Gender Mainstreaming

Gender Mainstreaming:Methods and Instruments

Characteristics and Differences of Managing Gender and Diversity

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