By Mathias Yawlui
Gender is the socially and culturally constructed identities of men and women. Gender refers to the roles, responsibilities, access and opportunities of men and women, boys and girls, in a society. Gender determines what is expected, allowed and valued in a women or a man in a given context. Therefore, it is not only a focus on women’s issues. Instead, it is an examination of issues of equality/inequality and differences between men and women as their respective roles and responsibilities vary depending on the social environment and power dynamics that prevail in a given society.
Is a gender audit simply old wine in new bottles – a gender evaluation by another name – or does it have different objectives? This somewhat contested question can be answered quite simply, summarized in the following way.
Five or 10 years ago, a gender evaluation was generally defined as a ‘technical assessment’, whereas an audit went beyond this to include ‘personal and institutional biases’ in the culture of organizations that prevented gender equality objectives being taken forward. Today, however, the distinction is blurred. Many organizations now use the term audit for what previously they would have called an evaluation, whereas gender evaluations tend to encompass internal issues that were previously the province of audits.
According to Wikipedia, gender mainstream is a strategy for making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.
You might be asking yourself, Why gender mainstreaming?
Gender mainstreaming because:
1. Women and men have different needs and living conditions and circumstances, including unequal access to and control over power, resources, human rights and institutions, including the justice system.
2. The situations of women and men also differ according to country, region, age, ethnic or social origin, or other factors. The aim of gender mainstreaming is to take into account these differences when designing, implementing and evaluating policies, programs and projects, so that they benefit both women and men and do not increase inequality but enhance gender equality.
3. Gender mainstreaming aims to solve –sometimes hidden- gender inequalities. It is therefore a tool for achieving gender equality.
Is there really a difference between gender equity and gender equality?
There is sometimes confusion between the terms “equity” and “equality” in their application to gender. Gender equity refers to the process of fair and just treatment of women and men and concerns the set of actions, attitudes, and assumptions that provide opportunities and create expectations about individuals. Gender equality is when men and women are being treated equally and have equal opportunities and responsibilities. Gender equality, however, does not necessarily mean equal numbers of men and women or boys and girls in all activities, nor does it necessarily mean treating men and women or boys and girls exactly the same. It implies enhancing the ability of women and men to enjoy status and opportunities that enable them to realize their potential to contribute to, and benefit from, social, economic and political development.
What is gender parity?
Gender parity exists when there are equal numbers of men and women at all levels in an organization. It must include significant participation of both men and women, particularly at senior levels. Gender parity is one of several integrated mechanisms for improving organizational effectiveness. Whilst it is an important objective, it is not sufficient to achieve gender equality or women’s empowerment.
When properly addressed and implemented, gender mainstreaming is a transformative approach with a great potential for social change. It is a long term strategy: every step counts towards this change of approach, but it will require some time until it is fully and automatically integrated into policy-making. There is wide consensus about the effectiveness of a dual approach towards gender equality, combining gender mainstreaming and specific measures for the advancement of women, to ensure better policy making and better use of resources. The male gender is not imperative to the female, let’s all live in a society that does not have infringe on the right of the other.
- Parrot Release admin