Step 4. Draw conclusions
Based on the data gathered, the gender inequalities and underlying causes identified, and the stakeholders consulted, the analysis can draw evidence-based conclusions to inform effective programmes and projects. It is important to link gender inequalities and needs to national and sub-national gender policies and goals. Key questions to ask are:
- What consequences will the intervention have on the target group, labour market or project?
- How might gender differences affect the chances of reaching EU Funds' goals within the intervention?
When drawing conclusions, it is also important to seek out local expertise by involving national/local gender experts and civil society organisations – especially women’s organisations – and to triangulate information by making use of national research.
Reflect on how inequalities between women and men in access to resources (work, money, power, health, well-being, security, knowledge and education, mobility, time, etc.) and their exercise of fundamental rights (civil, social and political) affect the intervention because of the sex of or the gender roles attributed to men and women. Key questions to ask include the following.
- Will the division of unpaid and paid work between women and men change as a consequence of the proposed intervention? If so, what kind of changes will it provoke? Will it reduce gender gaps? Will it increase men’s engagement in unpaid care work?
- Will the representation of women in decision-making bodies change as a consequence of the proposed intervention? If so, what changes will occur?
- Will the unequal distribution of income between women and men change? If so, what changes will occur?
- Will women’s full-time employment be increased? If so, what changes will occur?
- Will gender segregation in the labour market be reduced? If so, what changes will occur?
- Will inequalities between women and men in access to resources be reduced? If so, in what ways?
Sweden: integrating a gender perspective in national programming
The Swedish ESF uses a checklist at the national policy level to assess gender equality needs. This analysis makes the ESF very effective in addressing the different needs of the whole population, as the checklist reveals the situation and needs of both women and men. This proves fundamental when preparing PAs and OPs, ensuring that these improve the well-being of both women and men. In each focus area (e.g. transport, entrepreneurship, youth unemployment), women’s and men’s situatiosn must be described using sex-disaggregated data and gender-sensitive statistical analysis. Once this analysis identifies the differentiated responsibilities and needs of women and men, indicators are developed to track how their situations change throughout the programme. For example, differences between women and men have been identified in:
- travel time;
- working hours;
- levels of entrepreneurship;
- patterns of unemployment, health or education.
The causes and effects of these differences are analysed by the Swedish ESF. Organisations that work on gender equality and women’s rights are involved, alongside experts on gender equality and human rights, as key partners contributing to the analysis. A socioeconomic analysis and SWOT analysis are undertaken considering the lived realities of women and men in all their diversity. Based on the analysis, goals for gender equality are formulated in the PA and Operational Programme.
Sweden’s experience also reveals that it is not enough simply to measure numbers of women and men. Gender must be coupled with other socio-demographic indicators, such as age, location, education level, socio-economic situation, race, ethnicity, and other characteristics to better understand the intersections between different inequalities, and improve the lives of those most in need.
The Swedish ESF checklist at the national policy level:
- identifies gender differences and their underlying causes;
- describes gender issues in different areas of intervention, structures and processes, such as budgetary issues and decision-making;
- integrates gender equality in all phases of the analysis rather than in one separate section;
- ensures that the preliminary socio-economic analysis assesses the differences between women and men in each sphere of life;
- addresses women’s and men’s economic and social conditions (e.g. the gendered effects of the economic crisis, their influence on access to resources, the distribution of paid and unpaid work);
- examines the extent to which EU and national equality goals have been achieved, and remaining barriers to fully achieving them;
- sets specific goals to specifically address the inequalities identified in the socio-economic analysis;
- ensures that all goals have an equality dimension by asking:
- what gender equality dimensions need to be taken into account (recalling that goals may be ineffective or counter-productive if we assume that they are gender neutral);
- if the goals reinforce inequalities? (for example, if efforts to improve work-life balance only focus on women, can this strengthen stereotypes and entrench gender roles?);
- makes measurable gender equality indicators available to follow up on developments towards the goals;
- includes partners responsible for promoting gender equality and non-discrimination, alongside civil society organisations working on equality;
- includes on the monitoring committee people who are responsible for promoting equality and non-discrimination, alongside civil society organisations working on equality;
- ensures that a competence development plan for gender equality for management and other staff exists;
- establishes a support structure to contribute to the implementation of the horizontal equality principle;
- includes information on special efforts to advance gender equality and gender mainstreaming in annual and other reports and evaluations;
- demands gender equality competence in procurement processes for ex-ante evaluations, learning evaluations and ex-post evaluations.