Model Actors involved Guidelines Strenghts and weaknesses Model At the end of 2013, Belgium adopted the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA), which is a preliminary assessment of potential consequences of regulatory projects in the social, economic and environment fields as well as on public authority. It includes a section on gender. The RIA integrates 21 subjects among which four are analysed here in greater detail:
Model Actors involved Guidelines Strenghts and weaknesses Model Since 1 January 2013, a regulatory impact assessment should accompany all drafted legislation starting from its inception within the responsible ministries up to parliament. As part of this procedure, the dimension of gender equality has to be addressed with respect to benefits, employment, income, education, unpaid work, decision-making and health. Actors involved The scope of application of impact assessment and therefore also of gender impact assessment affects all laws, ordinances, other legal frameworks and major projects originating in ministries and other public bodies.
Model Actors involved Guidelines Strenghts and weaknesses Model The European Commission deploys a variety of methods in its approach to gender mainstreaming. These methods span the whole policy cycle, from policy definition, through implementation to monitoring and evaluation. In the policy-definition phase, gender impact assessment is integrated within the European Commission’s impact assessment system. Indeed, the Commission does not perform gender impact assessments as a separate, standalone exercise.
The implementation of a gender impact assessment in the European Union is not homogenous. Although gender impact assessment has been developed both at the European level (European Commission) and in many Member States, it is not an institutionalised method. While the main principles of gender impact assessment are the same for all, different models of gender impact assessment can be used to achieve this goal.
There are a few essential rules to keep in mind when considering the implementation of gender impact assessment. Policital commitment The gender impact assessment is an instrument for the implementation of gender mainstreaming. Therefore, it is only a tool and as such it needs to respond to a clear objective. Therefore, to realise its full potential, it requires unambiguous institutional support, since it entails the investment of different resources:
When performing the gender impact assessment, it is important to to take into account an internal system to ensure the quality of the assessment and the relevance of the measures proposed within it. To do this, central bodies for gender equality may have a fundamental role, since this is where knowledge and expertise on gender equality is concentrated. At this stage, the gender impact assessment requires knowledge and information, not only in the area of the policy intervention, but also in the gender equality field.
Conclusions must be formulated in terms of the impacts on women and men within the target group(s). Furthermore, proposals should be put forward that will promote gender equality in response to the existing situation. To do this, one should identify how gender equality could be strengthened in the different parts of the draft initiative, taking into account the conclusions reached:
In this phase it is important to establish how the policy or legislative measure will contribute to gender-equality, as well as to assess the foreseen impact in gender relations. Once the effects of the proposed policy have been identified, they should be ‘measured’, taking into consideration the expected trends as previously identified. To do this, it may be useful to take into account the following criteria so as to weigh the positive, neutral or negative gender impact of any initiative:
All regulations, policies and programmes relevant to gender affect the living conditions and access to resources for women and men. This effect is known as ‘gender impact’. An assessment of the gender impact of any initiative involves a process of analysis to determine the impact (tangible results) that the intervention could have on the effective equality of women and men.
Once the law, policy or programme has been contextualised, it is necessary to determine its gender relevance. This involves analysing whether or not it is likely to impact gender equality. To do this, the following elements must be taken into account: 1. Target group The ultimate target group is people, considering both individuals and legal entities. 2. Impact on the target group The proposed initiative affects women and men regarding their access to and/or control of resources.
The first step is to define the purpose of the planned policy, law or programme and show how it connects with gender equality. The following questions could be asked: Crucially, this should include a focus on how the intervention relates to gender equality. The following questions are some examples that could help during the analysis: What social issue is being addressed by this policy/legislative intervention?
General model of gender impact assessment presented below is based on existing gender impact assessment methodologies and functioning models. EIGE’s guide to gender impact assessment offers a general framework for the development of specific gender impact assessments tailored to the specific needs depending on the institutional competences and structures. How to carry out gender impact assessment Gender relevance assessment Definition of the policy purpose Checking gender relevance Gender impact assessment Gender-sensitive analysis Weighing gender impact Findings and proposals for improvement Gender quality assessment After: