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Information and communication

Information and communication in the implementation of Gender Mainstreaming

New tasks, such as the implementation of the strategy of Gender Mainstreaming (GM) need to be supported and guided using information and communication. It must be ascertained whether, for example, existing information and communication routes can be used or additional ones should be temporarily installed, even if this in fact runs counter to the ‘mainstream’ principle. What is transmitted by means of information and communication and the form in which this takes place will be crucial to the way Gender Mainstreaming is perceived by staff. It is a positive factor in the implementation process if the political leadership itself opens the introductory event, explaining the decision to implement GM and its uses in the organisation’s work.


Once the top management have decided to introduce and implement GM as a strategy for achieving gender equality, then a decision has to be made as to how information about this should be disseminated through the organisation. The binding nature of the decision will be best made clear if the head of the Ministry issues a regulation on it. This is more effective than a simple internal e-mail or publishing the decision in the intranet. If the job of informing staff about the decision is left to the gender equality officer, this means on the one hand that the role of gender equality officers in the implementation of GM has been misunderstood, and on the other hand that management is not doing its job.

The implementation of GM is frequently started with introductory events for the top management of the organisation. These events could for example provide information on and create awareness of the strategy of Gender Mainstreaming with the aim of bringing across the message that no measure can be gender-neutral in its impact.

So information on GM needs to be clearly structured. It should make clear
  • what is meant by Gender
  • that GM is not an optional extra and that gender equality issues cannot be addressed separately, but
  • that gender perspectives should be integrated into the organisation’s day-to-day work
  • and so specific gender knowledge is needed to work effectively and efficiently.
Even at this stage it is crucial that the top management of the Ministry including the political masters take part in the events and open them.
Staff will feel more committed to implementing GM if the political leaders make it clear by their active participation that
  • gender equality is important
  • Gender Mainstreaming is regarded as a good strategy
  • gender equality issues have not yet been addressed and there are a great many unanswered questions left.
Not only the content of the opening, but also the form the introductory event itself takes, is important, i.e. whether it is an information meeting lasting a few hours or even an introduction to the topic taking several days in the form of workshops or training seminars. If the decision is taken to hold just a short kick-off meeting, top management can still make the binding nature of the implementation resolution clear by arranging subsequent training sessions. The choice of content and form shows whether GM is seen as a complex challenge or just as something to be dealt with “on the side”.

For implementing GM it is a good idea, especially when it is being introduced, to organise a broad-based campaign of information for staff and public. This should transmit the great importance of GM for the organisation as a whole. In this connection, information should be regularly provided in the intranet on
  • what GM means for the organisation’s work
  • what steps are planned for its implementation
  • how staff can be enabled to acquire gender competence, e.g. by means of training, and
  • where external expertise can be useful for working on the topic.


Communication about GM is primarily on three levels: staff management, public relations and work processes between different staff members. Attention should always be paid here to the external impact as well as the internal impact.

Management should communicate internally
  • how gender equality is defined
  • why gender equality is important
  • what the use of it is in the organisation’s work
  • the statutory requirements on which GM is based
  • how the GM implementation process has been planned
  • who has which competencies in implementation and which forthcoming tasks are associated with them.
In this connection, it is also a task for the members of the management team to address the topic of gender equality in specialist areas by enquiring about gender perspectives. The management team must actively participate in dealing with problems of resistance and acceptance which arise during the implementation process. Existing communication routes such as formal and informal interviews, staff meetings and training courses can be used for this.

Public relations covers the following:
Members of the management team should communicate the gender equality aspects with regard to the organisation’s work externally as well, for example by incorporating them into speeches.
Communication by way of public relations also involves other tasks such as writing reports, brochures, websites, etc. with a gender equality slant, to present the topic of gender equality and the implementation of GM in the organisation in a transparent way. This also means communicating the goal of gender equality in a committed way to subordinate public authorities, associations and other organisations with which the organisation works.

Work processes for staff should be extended.
As gender equality is a comprehensive cross-sectional topic, it is frequently the case that staff come across situations in their own work that they are unable to solve within their own competencies. So GM demands in the long term, and contrary to the usual division of labour in public administration, that an exchange is facilitated among staff from various different sectors, for example in inter-departmental working groups or project groups. A knowledge management system can help here. The building blocks of information and communication are crucial, especially in the introductory phase of GM. In the long term, in the transition to GM as usual practice, it will be important, however, to install a system of knowledge management for communication between management and specialist levels and among staff. Information and communication will of course continue to be vital in day-to-day practice, but will have to be integrated into the knowledge management system or will need new developments in e-governance. So GM needs a corresponding structure for information and communication that needs to be seen in the wider context of knowledge management.


erstellt von Administrator zuletzt verändert: 02.01.2010 20:07