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In order to solve the issue of gender discrimination at workplace, gender mainstreaming would be a solution to limit gender inequality. Gender mainstreaming was recognized as an international approach that seeks to achieve gender equality and equivalent rights for both men and women in the Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women (Hannan 2003, pp. iii).
Gender mainstreaming is classified by the 52nd Session of The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations in 1997 as, “Mainstreaming a gender perspective is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in any area and at all levels. It is a strategy for making the concerns and experiences of women as well as of men an integral part 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 of mainstreaming is to achieve gender equality” (International Labor Organization 2002).
Why Gender Mainstreaming?
Gender mainstreaming composes the social problem of gender inequality obvious and clear for the community. Additionally, it improves the basis of all organization’s projects and procedures and also teaches the organization’s staff about the various effects of women and men’s contribution. Moreover, gender mainstreaming improves transparency and strategic decision making within the organization, as well as making full utilization of human resources by recognizing men and women’s capabilities and opportunities. In a practical mean, gender mainstreaming will persuade any organization’s staff to start on evaluating their organization and its activities on the basis of gender approach. Therefore, makes the organization realize the gaps between men and women and the source of discrimination and its approaches. Moreover, by determining the problem, it would be easier to take the initial important actions to improve the situation and achieve gender equality goals by being involved in the consultancy procedure and policy making. These actions require setting up a new development plan and modifying the organization’s priorities to put them into action. To achieve gender equality goals, it cannot be done individual as much as it needs the whole organization’s team cooperation and coordination (UNDP 2004, pp. 19-20).
Gender mainstreaming enhances the organization’s qualities by focusing on equal rights policies and allocating equal opportunities to both men and women. Moreover, it would also help to allocate financial and human resources to prepare and implement the policy. In addition, it would engender more awareness and knowledge on the autonomy and equity between men and women with the availability of gender expertise. It will also identify the responsibilities and answerability for gender mainstreaming and gender policy (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Information and Communication 2002, pp. 3).
Importance of Gender Mainstreaming:
There are several reasons of why our society needs gender mainstreaming for its magnitude on the organizational and societal level.
Gives people the opportunity to get involved in the policy making.
Gender equality and mainstreaming highlights the needs to evaluate policies according to their influence on individuals and social situation, along with their needs. It also contributes to introduce among public opinions, a learning progression of giving more attention of the policies impact people’s life. It is a step forward to a more human approach of development and modern democratic societies. By taking gender equality, policies will be made upon the real needs of men and women.
Gender mainstreaming leads to a better government.
In order to have a better government, then there should be a good formation of policies. Consequently, it will face all obstacles to inequality and lead to a superior transparency in the policy process.
Engage men and women to have full access to human resources.
It is well known that the society depends on human resources and men and women’s experience as well. Therefore, gender mainstreaming adds both men and women’s experience and acknowledges their responsibility to eliminate inequality within the society. Additionally, it might help in reducing any democratic deficits.
Makes gender equality issues noticeable for the society.
Gender mainstreaming gives the opportunity to clear out the idea of the consequences of political initiatives on men and women. Gender equality should be visible for the society and be integrated into the mainstream of the society. Therefore, gender mainstreaming reveals how gender equality is important social matter with implication for the society development. However, gender inequality cannot be combated without full involvement and commitment of the political structure (Council of Europe 1998, pp. 19-20).
Women represent half of the society; therefore, development should be based on the contribution of both men and women. Nonetheless, gender inequality directly and indirectly affect the impact of development strategies, hence, the overall achievement of the development gaols. The empowerment and sovereignty of women and the improvement of their social and political prominence is important for achieving a transparent and accountable government, in addition to sustainable development in various life areas. Therefore, achieving equality goals to involve both men and women in the decision making process will reflect a more accurate image of the society composition as there is a high need to reinforce democracy and promote its appropriate functioning (OSAGI 2001 pp. 1).
Gender Mainstreaming in Organization’s:
Even though gender mainstreaming is an International strategy to promote gender equality, there is still a long way before gender perceptions are consistently incorporated in all development fields. Specific knowledge and capacity is required to bring the realities of both men and women as well as their contribution, perspectives and needs to put up with accurate data collection and analysis, regulation development, implementation and monitoring in all fields of development (Hannan 2003, pp. 14-15).
Governmental or non-governmental organizations policies on gender equality are not effective or implemented properly due to the traditional domination of men’s role over women’s within the organization. Therefore, leading to low number of females, lack of rural women’s needs projects, low allocation of budget related to women activities, and unbalances decision making. Organizational change efforts include training between genders, gender mainstreaming and organizational development. The most fundamental components to achieve progress on institutionalizing gender equality obligations are to focus on senior managers. The management role is still a pre-requisite to assure the availability of adequate resources to work on addressing the gender issues and for the organizational systems and practices to require accountability to gender equality policies (WOCAN 2006, pp. 1-2).
For the organization to respond to the gender quality matter, it should identify the factors that create and increase gender biases within its atmosphere such as the vision and objectives, structure and policy, practices, programs and services, beliefs and attitudes as well as the practices of the staff members. However, the organization should adopt some measure to eradicate the causes of gender equity throughout some changes in the vision and objectives, reforming the policies, organizational restructuring, conduct gender awareness seminars, and improve physical capabilities to enhance safety and security (Sobritchea 2008, pp. 2-3).
A gender responsive organization should ensure programs and plans are being guided by the gender equality principles by taking affirmative actions when necessary to limit the gap between male and women concerning the access of benefits. In addition, practicing gender equality in decision making and opportunities (Sobritchea 2008, pp. 6). Nonetheless, the organization should eliminate any biases in the hiring, firing and promotion of male and female staff. Additionally, promote gender equality in educational and training decision and participate in the decision making as well as adopting non-sexist practices and developing structures and personnel services that address gender issues such as harassment and coordination between work and family life (Sobritchea 2008, pp. 7).
Difficulties of Gender Mainstreaming:
On of the constrains to gender equality law is the lack of awareness on national and International law on equal opportunity of both women and men (International Labor Organization 2003, pp. 83). Most of the problems can be endorsed by the misunderstanding of the existing procedures, techniques and means or the lack of political determination. The following are some difficulties that might accompany gender mainstreaming:
Ù Misunderstanding the concept of gender mainstreaming.
Ù Need for a wider concept of equality.
Ù Existing approaches to policy making and the need of mainstreaming for procedural changes.
Ù Lack of adequate tools and techniques.
Ù Lack of adequate knowledge about gender equality issues.
Ù Danger of talking about gender mainstreaming without implementations (Council of Europe 1998, pp. 17-18).
Procedures to Address Gender Mainstreaming Problems:
Organizational development in terms of illustrating tasks and duties, create accountability methods, developing guidelines, employing gender specialists and granting competence development for all workforces and human resources is required and essential to support gender mainstreaming. Full responsibility to implement mainstreaming strategies should be based on the highest level within the governments and organizations. Management levels should be responsible for putting mainstreaming mechanisms to monitor the progress with mainstreaming. The way to guarantee mainstreaming is to allocate clear indicators on the progress that can be monitored over time by the management (Hannan 2003, pp. 16).
To address the problem of gender mainstreaming, integrating genders issues with policies and programmes so that the civil society and the community efficiently respond to significant needs of women. The gender mainstreaming components are:
Establishing commitment and ability by creating and strengthening gender central points in local and nation development composition thought advocacy with senior decision makers.
Influence policies to be more responsive to gender issue by advocating gender legal reforms, organize policy forums and reinforcing women’s forum.
Increase women’s participation in the national and local level by providing leadership training to become role models in their societies.
Improving the capacity for gender monitoring and evaluation by expanding the information more effectively in advocacy.
Raise public awareness by establishing gender focal points in the structure of local and national development (Hannan 2003, pp. 10).
Clear definition of equal opportunities policy and on women and development within the organization.
Organizations’ executives and seniors should devote attention on the issue of equal opportunities.
Organizations’ employees should contribute to gender equity based on their policy field.
Gender experts should take a sufficient part in the policy decision making procedure.
Allocate enough money and human resource for the policy making and functioning.
Assessment and accountant of policy at a specific stage. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign Information and Communication, the Netherlands 2002, pp. 2).
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