The role of leaders in supporting the ongoing implementation of a gender policy cannot be overstated.
Leaders signal, both formally and informally, what attitudes, beliefs, and actions are in line with organizational culture, what initiatives are a priority and which can be left to the back burner, and what consequences can be expected for not aligning departmental and individual priorities with the wider organizational goals.
This is particularly true for large organizations where not all employees have frequent access to members of the senior leadership team. One large organization who participated in our study found that it was important for members of senior leadership to provide public recognition to the departments and project teams who were excelling at integrating gender more fully into their day-to-day processes. The gender specialist team found that there was an uptick in requests for technical assistance from their team when leadership highlighted teams who had made strides in their gender mainstreaming plans and were able to leverage that heightened level of interest from departments earlier on in their journey.
It is important to note that leaders must provide sustained levels of support to gender mainstreaming as the process is often only accomplished over a long and sustained period of change. As such, it is crucial that leaders remind their employees about the importance of gender mainstreaming to the organizational mission on a regular basis.
For more tools that leadership can use to demonstrate the importance of gender mainstreaming, consider checking out the following solutions: