(15-17 September 1997, Geneva, Switzerland)
The Workshop on Gender Mainstreaming was organized by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women and was held in Geneva at the ILO from September 15-17, 1997. The sixty-one women and men at the Workshop included members of the UN Inter-agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality and members of the Expert Group on Women in Development of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD. The purpose of the Workshop was to share experiences and lessons learned between and among bilateral and multilateral organisations about mainstreaming for gender equality as a crucial element in the transformation of the development agenda. Discussions were frank, practical and useful.

The Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 demonstrates a political commitment on the part of the worldís Governments to work towards equality between women and men and to pursue gender mainstreaming as a strategy for achieving equality. At the meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council in 1997, the Agreed Conclusions addressed mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system. Mainstreaming a gender perspective was defined as the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action including legislation, policies, and programmes, in any area and at all levels. It is a strategy for making womenís as well as menís concerns and experiences an integral dimension in 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.

The participants considered that both these instruments, the Platform for Action and the ECOSOC Agreed Conclusions, have set high standards. The participants further recognised that gender equality is not only a goal in itself but also a means to make poverty reduction, promotion of human rights, and democratisation more effective by addressing the needs of both women and men.

Although innovative efforts have been made within organisations, there is need to translate this learning on a far more widespread basis and to commit greater human, technical and financial resources to the task of ensuring that a gender equality perspective is fully institutionalised. Several conditions were determined as having special significance for this effort to move forward.





There was agreement that there should be a continued professional exchange and flow of information including through e-mail and the Internet. The UN IACWGE and the OECD DAC WID Expert Group will develop partnerships to prioritize future joint activities. It was acknowledged that funding will be needed by the UN system and donors to support such activities. Suggested activities include: further meetings on selected topics; a review of the role and terms of reference of gender focal points in all agencies and organizations; exchange of information on best practices in gender mainstreaming; documentation of sectoral approaches on gender mainstreaming to be used for training and policy dialogue; and consideration of further multilateral bilateral field level collaboration on gender mainstreaming involving civil society and partner Governments. The Chairpersons of the two groups will report to the groups by March 1998.

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