Gender mainstreaming policies are a commonly used tool in the international development sector and provide a means to establish gender mainstreaming goals across the organization and provide a unified vision for everyone from the Board of Directors to the newly-onboarded intern.
The danger of policies live in their death; once they are created is there someone in charge of achieving the goals? How does that person keep the policy at the forefront of their coworker's minds as they go about their day-to-day activities?
One participant in our study cited the importance, not only of having a member of leadership champion their work, but also to have leadership buy-in across the organization and in their country offices of that policy to ensure that it is fully taken on board after it's inception:
We established a gender equality and women’s empowerment steering group which is chaired by one of the assistant executive directors. This is a big thing because it’s never happened before. This committee has got members including six regional directors and key division directors from headquarters. [When we submit the proposed policy], they are going to ask questions like, “How relevant is this to us? Is it achievable? What resources are needed?” If they say it’s okay, and we agree to move forward, they are essentially buying into the policy.
It is much easier to get continuous engagement from leadership and see your gender mainstreaming policy come to life if key members participate in the creation, rather than perceiving it as prescriptive. Moreover, while it's important to have a high-ranking member of leadership championing gender mainstreaming work, it's more important to have a deep bench of key players who understand their role in the implementation process.
EXPLORE THE FOLLOWING SOLUTIONS: