Gender equality training is not a goal in itself, or a single tool to implement gender mainstreaming. It is part of a wider set of tools, instruments and strategies. Gender equality training should be incorporated into a continuous and long-term process.
As defined by UN Women, gender equality training is a ‘tool, strategy, and means to effect individual and collective transformation towards gender equality through consciousness raising, empowering learning, knowledge building, and skill development'. It is an important component of the gender-mainstreaming strategy, and is recognised as such by several international and European normative instruments on gender equality.
Gender equality training (GET) provides participant(s) with the relevant knowledge, skills and values that allow them to contribute to the effective implementation of the gender-mainstreaming strategy in their field, organisation, institution or country.
In order to effectively mainstream gender, civil servants should be able to:
- Identify gender inequalities in their field of activity
- Define gender equality objectives
- Take account of gender when planning and implementing policies
- Monitor progress
- Evaluate programmes from a gender perspective
All these actions require adequate theoretical knowledge, practical skills and sometimes also a change in attitude and behaviour. Recognising that no political or organisational practice is gender neutral is a learning process.
A well-designed legal and institutional framework as well as good organisational management are essential for gender mainstreaming to bring about the expected results. But it is equally important to equip individual staff members with the understanding and tools that will enable them to perform their gender-mainstreaming duties well.
This is where gender equality competence development comes into play as one of the most essential components of a gender-mainstreaming strategy.