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GM and/or policy on women

GM and / or policy on women?

Is Gender Mainstreaming a secret sell-out of policy on women?

In a nutshell, Gender Mainstreaming (GM) cannot be played off against policy on women. Rather, GM offers the strategic framework for gender equality policy today. GM is not an open-ended policy with unknown outcome, but is targeted on gender equality between women and men. Policy on women is thus part of the spectrum of measures in the implementation of GM. GM means that measures for the promotion of women are looked at even more systematically in terms of their impact and are placed in a wider context of gender equality policy which is aimed at both sexes.

The EU Amsterdam Treaty has given gender equality policy a strong impetus. It is no longer a question of whether to have gender equality, but of how. GM is therefore the result of successful women’s policy. With GM, gender issues have found their way on a sustained basis into all subject areas and fields of action and are placed on an expanded foundation of legitimacy. Targeted measures for the promotion of women are still just as necessary as other measures, such as promotion of men, incentive policies, etc. With GM being adopted as a serious and systematic cross-sectional task, the promotion of women is being integrated systematically and continuously into the everyday practice of politics and public administration.

Action aimed at gender equality takes place on three levels:
  • GM is the strategy,
  • promotion of women and the promotion of men as well are concrete measures,
  • and the goal is gender equality.
Gender equality is not, however, something that only exists in vague outline, but has been refined by judgements of the European Court of Justice, the German Federal Constitutional Court and other German courts as well as in the Constitution and in various laws. Accordingly, gender equality, as worded in the brochure "A Working Guide to Gender Mainstreaming for the Drawing Up of Legal Regulations” (assessment of the consequences of laws differentiated by sex/gender” [German text], is
  • elimination and prevention of gender-related discrimination,
  • equal participation by women and men in all their diversity in social positions, influence and resources,
  • genuine freedom of choice in the shaping of individual lifestyles through freedom from stereotypical images and compulsory gender-related roles.
GM is a young strategy, and so it is of course open to interpretation and exposed to the danger of abuse. Abuse consists in GM being cited as a general reason for doing away with women’s policy. And a criticism of GM that is frequently expressed is indeed that GM is used as an excuse to redistribute or even do away with mature structures for the promotion of women and hard-won resources. Examples of this are the cutting of equal opportunities officers’ jobs and ongoing promotion programmes. This has to be clearly and decisively countered: anybody who tries to put the promotion of women on ice by playing off strategy and measures against each other is misunderstanding and abusing GM. The promotion of women is part of Gender Mainstreaming, even if GM is subject to a gender analysis just like any other field of policy.

erstellt von Administrator zuletzt verändert: 02.01.2010 20:07