What is gender mainstreaming?

In my last post, I pondered the extent to which the policies of International institutions and non-government organisations are gender mainstreamed.

But what exactly is gender mainstreaming? Put simply gender mainstreaming is a tool for accomplishing gender  equality.

Specifically, the European Commission defines gender mainstreaming at,  “the process that integrates, priorities and needs of women and men of all ages in all key development and cooperation policies and specific measures to prevent or compensate for the disadvantages linked to sex with a view to ensuring equality in practice between men and women” (Commission 2003: p6)

Gender mainstreaming has it origins in the 1995,  United Nations (UN) Beijing World Conference On Women. The UN called on development development agencies, such as the EU, to mainstream gender in their development programmes.

This meant that rather than add-on development programmes targeting women only, development agencies would seek to achieve gender equality through their development policies.

The concept of gender mainstreaming has been studied by academics at length with a view to

  1. understanding what it means
  2. what if anything have donor agencies achieved since agreeing to mainstream their policies
  3. what it means in practice and whether or not it is measurable
  4. has it worked and if not why not?

I will try and unpack some of these issues in the coming posts from the point of view of the EU’s development policy towards Uganda.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.