Gender mainstreaming: an overview.
The mainstreaming strategy is implemented in somewhat different ways in relation to activities such as research, policy development, policy analysis, programme delivery, or technical assistance activities. The opportunities and processes are different for each area of work. For example, an important challenge and opportunity in technical assistance activities is to identify how gender dimensions are relevant and then establish a constructive dialogue with potential partners on gender equality issues; in defining a research project a critical concern is ensuring that conceptual frameworks and methodologies will capture the different and unequal situations of women and men. In addition, the mainstreaming strategy must be adapted to the particular subject under discussion. The analytic approach and questions asked must be appropriate to the specific concerns being addressed. Clearly, different questions must be asked to understand the gender equality implications of macroeconomic policy than are asked about policies related to small arms control. There is no set formula or blueprint that can be applied in every context. However, what is common to mainstreaming in all sectors or development issues is that a concern for gender equality is brought into the ‘mainstream’ of activities rather than dealt with as an ‘add-on’. The first steps in the mainstreaming strategy are the assessment of how and why gender differences and inequalities are relevant to the subject under discussion, identifying where there are opportunities to narrow these inequalities and deciding on the approach to be taken. (excerpt)