Introducing gender mainstreaming methods and tools

One of the main difficulties in implementing gender mainstreaming is that it often remains a very abstract concept. It is not enough to simply state that gender mainstreaming needs to be implemented; persons responsible for gender mainstreaming require specific instructions about what exactly is meant by this and what they are expected to do. Gender mainstreaming methods and tools can be of vital assistance as they offer clear guidance on how to implement gender mainstreaming in practical terms. They support a systematic implementation of gender mainstreaming in a particular field of activity or sector.

The aim of using gender mainstreaming methods and tools is to shape an organisation’s processes and operational work flows in such a way that the results and effects of the organisation’s work better meet gender equality objectives.

Key aspects

Gender mainstreaming cannot be implemented with one single tool. Since it is a process whereby a gender equality perspective is integrated into a range of different processes and tasks, a variety of methods and tools that support its implementation are therefore used in the different operational work flows of a particular field of activities.

It is vital to select methods that suit the specific procedures and working routines of a particular organisation as well as developing tools that have been custom-made to suit requirements. The long term aim is that gender mainstreaming methods are incorporated directly into existing processes, work flows and specialist subject content. This is so that gender mainstreaming is not seen as an “extra task”, but one that is fully integrated into standard working routines.

These methods and tools should be systematically and authoritatively applied in order to ensure the success of gender mainstreaming. This means that the operation should not be run sporadically or inconsistently, but rather it should be continuously and systematically integrated into the respective stages of routine procedures. It also means that its application is mandatory and that it can have a genuine influence on planning and decision-making. So much so that, for instance, the findings of a gender impact assessment are incorporated into further measures planning and can also lead to changes being made to planned projects where necessary.

EIGE’s collection of M&T

In this part of the GM Platform you can find a collection of gender mainstreaming methods and tools to be used within each of the gender mainstreaming cycle stages. A gender mainstreaming cycle model consists of a series of defined steps to describe how the gender dimension can be integrated into the process of defining, planning, implementing and checking certain policies, programmes or projects. GM methods and tools serve to make the entire gender mainstreaming process more understandable in a policy, programme or project development. A well-founded implementation of gender mainstreaming cannot be achieved merely by ticking off check lists.  GM methods and tools add weight to the discussion by posing equality-related questions throughout all stages of the cycle.

Consult our practical guide to the integration of the gender perspective into policy/programming cycle to read about this process and learn which gender mainstreaming methods and tools should be used within each of the policy cycle stages.