Compendium of Theory, Practice and Quality Standards for Gender Workers A Gender Worker Development Programme
In Europe a diversity of approaches to gender mainstreaming processes exist in the different countries, as they do for the issue of gender training. Since gender mainstreaming has become a commonly recognised cross cutting issue all over EU Member States a market for gender work has developed, a new profession with a high demand for further education and professionalisation. Quality assurance of gender research and training often happens in projects, round tables or networks of excellence at national and international levels. So, although a clear demand for professional gender tasks has emerged, concepts of gender education often remain fragmented and specific professional standards with a mode for certification are still outstanding. Against the political and legislative background of the partner countries, the field of gender training activities is diverse. It encompasses on the one hand well defined roles within for example, teaching and training, analysis and project management and, on the other, basic roles on a rather low level of gender knowledge – and vice versa. Statements on the current situation of qualification criteria for gender trainings and experts, therefore, were difficult to define:In Austria, trading on the gender market is regulated by legal frameworks in the public sector (public procurement law), by public funding and by direct contracting (e.g. big private companies). Public funding, highly important for social economics and NPO’s, is decreasing, while public invitations to tender are becoming more important. In this context, the role of the supply side to regulate quality becomes more important. The quality of training and counselling services in the field of gender mainstreaming in Austria can be described as strongly influenced by the perception of quality and competences on the supplier’s side.In Germany, there is an ongoing discussion about qualification criteria and quality criteria for gender trainers in certain areas and exchange about this in trainers’ networks seem to be very important. The discourse about quality may develop into a hidden struggle for power over definitions and distribution of resources. One of the qualification criteria for a gender trainer or expert seems to be the ability and willingness to reflect on ones personal gender role, the diversity of various genders, outcomes of feminist and men’s research and other fields of gender research.As in Slovenia gender equality politics have not yet been a priority on the political agenda, there is a need for further education, awareness raising and gender sensitisation of people (working in public administration, at governmental level, in educational systems, in private and public organisations, etc.). The top-down strategy seems more interesting in the case of Slovenia: if gender training were supported by the state, these activities may have more legitimacy in terms of the importance of these issues for society as a whole.In Spain there is no initial education in gender. There is a variety of different channels for acquiring training, which can benefit people who work on gender issues (university programmes, further education and expertise in gender work). Another characteristic of gender professionals in Spain is that gender work, despite certain changes, is still primarily carried out by women: gender work targeted at men is a relatively recent phenomenon. Also, there are still very few gender experts working in private companies.In the UK, most large public organisations and many large private ones are likely to have set up an Equality and Diversity (E&D) Unit. The existing vocational programmes in the areas, such as health and social care, child care, counselling, business studies and teacher education, include assessed content, which addresses E&D issues. Specific sets of standards for gender awareness do not yet exist and it is by no means clear that there is a demand for such in isolation.