The first strategic document in the field of gender-equality policy in Latvia was the Concept Paper on Gender Equality Implementation (2001). The concept paper was used as the foundation for the development of further plans of action and documents to implement the goals set in this policy document. Since then, gender mainstreaming has been the main method for facilitating the principle of gender equality in Latvia, and is constantly adjusted and improved in light of economic, social and political changes and in order to increase awareness of how gender pervades all government policies.
Before 2004, the European Union (EU) accession process played an essential role in promoting gender mainstreaming, with EU gender-equality directives being transposed into national law, and principles determined by the fundamental treaties of the EU being applied in national legislation and policymaking.
Gender mainstreaming has been at the centre of each of the Gender Equality Action Plans adopted by the government in 2004, 2007 and 2012. Equal opportunities, including gender equality, are a horizontal priority for actions undertaken by the European Social Fund (ESF) and by all EU Structural Funds in the period 2007–2013.
The Department of Development and Planning of Social Policy at the Ministry of Welfare is in charge of the development of gender-equality policy in government. The Committee of Gender Equality was established at the Ministry of Welfare in order to ensure an effective coordination of activities performed by different ministries, social partners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governmental agencies, the ombudsman and other relevant bodies. The committee facilitates the implementation, supervision and development of gender-equality policy.
Laws and policies
The gender-equality goal is determined by the Concept Paper on Gender Equality Implementation, which establishes the promotion of an effective, integrated and coordinated approach to gender equality. Gender mainstreaming has been at the centre of each of the policy Action Plans for Implementation of Gender Equality adopted by the government since 2004. The plans focus on different aspects of gender mainstreaming, starting with awareness-raising on the integrated and coordinated implementation of gender-equality issues and the development of sustainable institutional mechanisms, as well as specific training for key actors involved in the administration of EU Structural Funds. The most recent action plan foresees development of support materials (handbooks, training programmes) and research that would provide feedback on the impact of previously implemented activities and guidelines for further policy development.
Methods and tools
Several methods have been developed and deployed. However, some methods have not been developed or considered.