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close this bookABC of Women Workers' Rights and Gender Equality (ILO; 2000; 124 pages)
View the documentThe International Labour Organization
View the documentILO Publications
View the documentPreface to the earlier ABC of women workers' rights
View the documentPreface to the new ABC of women workers' rights and gender equality
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction: Labour standards promoting women workers' rights and gender equality (Ingeborg Heide1)
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View the documentGender
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View the documentGender and development and women in development
View the documentGender mainstreaming
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Gender mainstreaming

Although developed earlier, the concept of gender mainstreaming was clearly established in 1995, at the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, as the main global strategy for promoting gender equality. Gender mainstreaming means introducing a gender perspective in the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes in any area and at all levels. It 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 programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.

Gender mainstreaming is not a goal in itself, but a means to achieve gender equality. Gender mainstreaming and special interventions to promote equality between women and men are complementary to each other. Special interventions for gender equality can target either women alone, both women and men, or men alone. There is no conflict between the two strategies; on the contrary, targeted interventions are seen as essential for mainstreaming.

Using a mainstreaming strategy based on gender analysis implies, in particular:

• awareness-raising and capacity-building activities;

• taking into account, at the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation stages, the effects of policies and programmes on women and men;

• adequate allocation of human and financial resources;

• active participation of both women and men in decision-making in all areas and at all levels.

Mainstreaming gender in the world of work is a means of integrating equality concerns across the board into all policy objectives and all activities in order to promote equality of all workers, irrespective of sex. Main areas of concern are the following:

• promoting and realizing fundamental principles and rights at work to ensure that the principle of non-discrimination is fully applied de jure and de facto;

• creating greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and income, thus achieving the goals of decent living standards, social and economic integration, personal fulfilment and social development;

• enhancing the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all in order to improve the socio-economic security of all people, including measures to safeguard working conditions and safety and health, and to extend social protection; and

• strengthening tripartism and social dialogue to ensure women's and men's equal participation so that their interests and concerns are adequately reflected in policy-making.

→ see also Gender equality, Gender equity and Gender and development and women in development

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