In our final article of our summer “On our radar” series we look at how Welsh Government can truly put gender equality at the heart of all they do.
Decisions made by government affect people of different genders in different ways.
We say that a lot at Chwarae Teg, but that’s because it’s true.
As a result of different positions in the home and the labour market, policies, programmes and budgets impact on men and women differently.
In Wales, there has been a continued commitment to assess this impact and ensure that no-one is disadvantaged as a result of their gender. The government do this through consultation, engagement events and crucially, equality impact assessments.
While these actions are incredibly important, they are to an extent retrospective. The result can sometimes be trying to make a policy or spending decision deliver in a way it’s not really able to effectively. Essentially trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
How much more effective could we be at delivering fairly for men and women if consideration of gender equality was built in from the very beginning?
This is precisely what a gender mainstreaming strategy would deliver.
Gender mainstreaming is defined as “the integration of the gender perspective into every stage of policy processes – design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation – with a view to promoting equality between women and men” (European Commission).
Such an approach should deliver gender sensitive policy and spending decisions across government as well as ensure that initiatives and objectives with a focus on equality aren’t undermined by policy making elsewhere.
Many countries have implemented such strategies with great success, including Sweden, who are often held as an example of best practice. In Sweden the gender mainstreaming strategy is seen as the main strategy for achieving equality targets.
And on many measures it seems to be delivering. Sweden is ranked 4th in the world by the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap report (the UK is ranked 26th).
Sweden’s maternal employment rates are among the highest in the OECD. They rank among the best of EU member states for women’s representation in parliament. And the 2016 budget was due to bring about a number of changes in the tax-benefit system to further improve gender equality.
As a result of other nations pursuing such strategies, a variety of tools are at our disposal to follow suit.
Gender responsive budgeting remains one of the most effective means of delivering on gender mainstreaming strategies. There arealso a host of others on the IncludeGender platform created by a collection of Swedish organisations.
We believe that the Welsh Government should build on their continued commitment to equality by developing a gender mainstreaming strategy. This is a natural next step for a government committed to delivering a more equal, prosperous and resilient Wales.
Such a move would put gender equality at the heart of everything that Welsh Government do and would play a crucial role in driving progress towards a Wales where women achieve and prosper.
In our Summer series of articles we have set out the key policy areas we believe should be prioritised by the Welsh Government. We know that Wales can make significant progress in addressing gender inequality in the near future provided we make a concentrated effort to do so. By addressing the issues highlighted in this series important steps can be taken to make our vision, of a Wales where women achieve and prosper, a reality.
For more information on any of these topics, please feel free to contact the Policy Team below:
Natasha Davies – firstname.lastname@example.org
Eira Jepson – email@example.com