Workshop: Gender Mainstreaming in Public Policies
In the year in which Beijing+20 is being celebrated, it is worth recalling that the agreements reached within the framework of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action included the application of a gender analysis to all programmes and interventions aimed at the equality and empowerment of women, the gender mainstreaming of actions, and gender analysis in the design and application of development programmes of a sectoral nature.
Gender mainstreaming is deemed to be a strategy that has the aim of introducing policies on equality in a mainstream way in all policies and programmes.
Although the Platform for Action envisaged gender equality in all aspects of life, twenty years later no country has been able to complete this programme, and difficulties in its implementation have been encountered.
The workshop was carried out within the framework of the priorities defined as part of the METROPOLIS Women network with regard to:
- Emphasizing the inclusion of gender awareness in the debates and activities of METROPOLIS;
- Encouraging and promoting Urban Development that is sensitive to gender issues in all of its aspects: social, economic, cultural, and environmental.
It was carried out in two blocks. The first part consisted in explaining the concept of gender mainstreaming and its impact on local policies and the welfare of citizens. Subsequently, trends were examined at an international level and practical cases were used to visualize the applicability of gender mainstreaming. The moderator was Montserrat Pallarès, co-ordinator of the Women Network and head of Institutional Relations at METROPOLIS, and the following cases were discussed::
- Barcelona: 'The city's strategy for the promotion of gender mainstreaming' by Estel Crusellas, co-ordinator of the Centre for Equality and Resources for the Women of the Barcelona City Council.
- Brussels: 'Implementation of the gender-mainstreaming strategy' by Bianca Debaets, Secretary of State for equal opportunities of the Brussels Capital Region.
- Buenos Aires: 'Women as protagonists of the transformation of their habitat' by Raquel Munt, Social Inclusion Director-General of the Housing and Inclusion Secretariat of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires.
The second part of the workshop was moderated by Estel Crusellas with presentations followed by a participatory format with questions from the audience. It was an open activity which served to collect ideas that would contribute to promoting gender mainstreaming in our cities and the Association.
During the discussion, items raised included the gender perspective in budgetary matters, the need for the creation of educational programmes, the training of civil servants (especially in local government), the need for a legal framework, and awareness needs. In all cases, it is crucial to involve the whole of society in this matter.
Furthermore, the session allowed the conclusion to be reached that the crux of the discussion is to be found in the processes and institutions. The problem posed by the METROPOLIS Women network resides in gender differences, and how they are perceived and remedied. The first step is to acknowledge the problem in order to then apply the appropriate methodologies. These are not the same for all situations and locations; policies need to be adapted and must be flexible. The central challenge is to standardize processes.
The Network also actively participated in the Board of Directors Meeting, during which the new 2015-2017 METROPOLIS Action Plan was approved, which includes gender mainstreaming. During this session, the Network expressed its interest in a higher level of respect being paid to those contributions featuring gender awareness in the document to be submitted by METROPOLIS at the Habitat III Conference in 2016. Furthermore, in order to make the work of the Network more visible in the drafting and approval of a declaration for the World Conference, Buenos Aires and Barcelona represented the Network in the PrepCity session.