Step 8: Introducing gender mainstreaming

Key aspects

  1. Select methods that suit the specific procedures and working routines of a particular organisation
  2. Develop tools that have been custom-made to suit requirements
  3. Gender mainstreaming methods are to be incorporated directly into existing processes, work flows and specialist subject content
  4. The methods and tools should be continuously and systematically integrated into the respective stages of routine procedures and the application should be mandatory

Methods for implementing gender mainstreaming

Methods for implementing gender mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming methods describe a particular procedure or a certain task (e.g. gender analysis), while a gender mainstreaming tool is a specific instrument that provides precise guidance on how to apply a certain method (e.g. a set of guidelines or a questionnaire).

Key methods for implementing gender mainstreaming include process design methods, methods for individual steps within a process and subject-specific tools.

The following are some examples of process design methods:

1. Gender mainstreaming cycle models in programmes or projects

Process design methods serve to make the entire gender mainstreaming procedure more understandable in a programme or project. They also help to simplify a systematic approach. Cycle models use a series of defined steps to describe how gender mainstreaming can be integrated into the process of planning and implementing certain programmes or projects, e.g. for EU structural funds programmes. They make an excellent foundation for developing gender equality competence, in order to illustrate the entire process of implementing gender mainstreaming.


  1. European Institute for Gender Equality Gender has proposed gender mainstreaming cycle model as the part of the module What is gender mainstreaming. The cycle shows how gender can be integrated into different stages of designing, planning, implementing as well as monitoring and evaluating polices, programmes and projects developed by the EU institutions and the public administration of the EU Member States.
  2. The European Community of Practice on Gender Mainstreaming (GenderCoP) has published a ‘Standard on Gender Mainstreaming’, explaining how to implement gender mainstreaming within the European Social Fund (ESF). The Standard describes 4 cycles of the ESF (1. EU programming and policy cycle, 2. National policy cycle, 3. Regional and national implementation cycle, 4. Project cycle). The steps of implementing gender mainstreaming in each of these cycles are explained in detail. For instance, the regional and national implementation cycle includes the following steps: ‘Analysis’, ‘Objectives’, ‘Implementation’, ‘Monitoring’ and ‘Evaluation’. The GenderCoP Standard on Gender Mainstreaming

2. Gender controlling

Gender controlling is a particularly useful method for organisations that employ target-oriented management concepts, i.e. new public management or management by objectives. It integrates operationalised gender equality objectives and equality indicators in a corresponding system of objective agreement, indicators, monitoring and reporting.


German universities have been challenged to provide basic performance data and statistics for university and non-university uses as they introduce performance-oriented funding, objective agreement, evaluation, ranking and benchmarking processes. Gender controlling has been introduced at different German universities in order to include the aspect of equality in quality management and controlling throughout the university. This acts to promote gender equality in academic life.

Network gender controlling

3. Gender budgeting

The term Gender budgeting refers to an application of gender mainstreaming in the budgetary process. It means a gender-based assessment of budgets, incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process and restructuring revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality.
Gender budgeting can be implemented in the field of fiscal and budget policy as a strategy in itself. In an institutional context, however, it can also be used to monitor budget allocation with regard to gender equality. It is a very important method, particularly for institutions that work with a performance budgeting system.

Example methods for individual procedural steps are as follows:

4. Gender analysis

An analytical process by which the position of women and men in a given policy field is assessed, and priorities for action are defined. It includes the study of differences in the conditions, needs, participation rates, access to resources and development, control of assets, decision making powers, etc. between women and men and their assigned gender roles. Information is analysed to ensure that benefits and resources are effectively and equitably targeted to both women and men. It also contributes to anticipating and avoiding any negative impacts policy may have on women or on gender relations.
A gender analysis identifies relevant gender-related differences in a particular field of intervention or department. Gender analysis is not simply a matter of quantitatively mapping out the current situation, but rather a process that should also raise questions about the causes, influencing factors and effects of gender-related differences. A gender analysis is a pre-requisite for the development of equality goals and for the equality-focussed planning of further measures.

5. Gender impact assesment

A gender impact assessment (GIA) investigates planned projects ex ante, looking for potential gender-related effects. It is used to assess the impact of a given policy proposal on men and women and on gender relations in general.
GIA involves comparing and assessing, according to gender relevant criteria, the current situation and trends with the expected development resulting from the introduction of the proposed policy. It is a useful tool to fight the gender bias of the policy process. It should be performed before the final decision on the policy proposal is taken to ensure that any planned projects do not continue to uphold existing inequalities, but instead are focussed on supporting gender equality.

Gender mainstreaming tools

A wide range of gender mainstreaming methods and tools can be found on EIGE’s website

View gender mainstreaming methods on EIGE's website

Developing customised tools

It may be necessary to adapt existing tools to suit the field of activity in question or to develop specially tailored tools. It is, therefore, advisable for gender mainstreaming experts to carry out the modification or development of suitable tools in collaboration with the future users of these tools.

Quality criteria for gender mainstreaming tools

The GenderCompetenceCenter (Germany 2003-2010) has published a list of quality criteria for gender mainstreaming tools in terms of content and form. Quality criteria such as these can be helpful when developing, choosing or adapting gender mainstreaming tools.



  • gender equality not an “extra” but integrated (as cross-sectional task)
  • no treatment of gender as something banal
  • clear targeting
  • actor-related
  • related to the policy field or subject area
  • practicability
  • sustainability
  • openness to development and optimizability



  • language that does justice to gender
  • uniform and understandable use of language referring to ‘gender’ and ‘gender equality’
  • consistency and effectiveness of form and content
  • binding nature
  • orientation to existing work routine

For more information visit Gender Competence Center: Quality Criteria for Tools


EIGE had developed an online tool on gender competence development, including databases of trainers and training materials on gender mainstreaming. To be EIGE online tool on GET to be added when ready

The Swedish government has published a manual including a collection of gender mainstreaming tools, accompanied by a “Book of Ideas for Managers and Strategists”.