Gender mainstreaming is a strategy and process to ensure that gender equality is an integral part of all policies, plans and programmes. It is about ensuring that girls’/women’s and boys’/men’s views, experiences, interests and needs shape the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of interventions. Gender mainstreaming goes beyond increasing girls’/women’s participation; it facilitates equal opportunities, benefits and outcomes for both girls/women and boys/men.
Gender equality is central to the Commonwealth of Learning’s (COL) agenda of learning for sustainable development, and COL has adopted gender mainstreaming as an organisational strategy. By setting gender equality as a cross-cutting corporate goal, COL strives to ensure that both girls’/women’s and boys’/men’s views, interests and needs influence planning, policies and programmes.
Gender mainstreaming provides equal opportunities for girls/women and boys/men to participate in and benefit from COL’s development interventions in open and distance learning (ODL). COL also supports the institutional capacity of its partner institutions to mainstream gender equality in the planning, development, and monitoring and evaluation of learning programmes.
Gender Mainstreaming: A tool for learning for sustainable development
Learning opportunities are the drivers of social change and economic growth. Gender mainstreaming is one vehicle for ensuring equitable access to these learning opportunities. It is the essential tool for achieving gender equality, which in turn facilitates the achievement of sustainable development.
Institutions and organisations can initiate gender-responsive learning through a two-pronged approach: by establishing an organisational culture that promotes gender equality, and by identifying and addressing the barriers to learning for both girls/women and boys/men. Gender mainstreaming equalises:
- the possibility for expansion of capabilities of both girls/women and boys/men,
- access to resources and voice, and
- the opportunity to be change agents.
It addresses systemic and structural gender discrimination and helps to remove the obstacles preventing full enjoyment of one’s freedoms.
Institutional Scorecard for Gender Mainstreaming
COL has designed various tools to enable partner institutions to measure and compare the status of gender mainstreaming, monitor progress towards minimum standards and focus attention on formulating approaches and measures that will allow both women and men to shape, participate in and benefit from quality learning opportunities.
Additional resources on Gender Mainstreaming
COL’s Open Access Repository holds a range of resources related to gender mainstreaming, including Gender Mainstreaming in Learning for Sustainable Development, Gender Mainstreaming Toolkit for Teachers and Teacher Educators, Measuring Empowerment Toolkit and more.