Gender Mainstreaming

What is Gender Mainstreaming?

The term “Gender Mainstreaming” comes from English and refers to the “integration of the sexes” or “equality policy”. The aim is to successfully implement gender equality at all levels of society. The term “Gender Mainstreaming” was first used at the third UN World Women Conference in Nairobi in 1985.

Ten years later, at the fourth World Women Conference in Beijing, the term was propagated. Gender mainstreaming became widely known in 1997/1999 when the Amsterdam publishing house appointed the concept of the officially recognized focus of the European Union’s gender equality policy.

Gender mainstreaming is often confused with classical women’s policy and interpreted as one and the same, but this is not correct. Gender mainstreaming differs from explicit women’s policy in that within the framework of gender mainstreaming, both sexes, i.e. male and female, are to be integrated equally into the holistic concept design.

If one takes a closer look at the term gender mainstreaming, it becomes clear that it can be divided into two terms, namely “gender” and “mainstreaming”. The English term “Gender” has no direct equivalent in some other European languages. Thus, the English term is generally used in Europe. The term refers to the socially, socially and culturally shaped gender roles of both women and men. “Mainstreaming” means the attempt to bring disadvantaged groups or marginalized groups into the middle of society, i.e. into the normal mainstream. There these fringe groups are to be included in the social alliance.

Gender mainstreaming is not only a modern concept of gender equality but also a so-called “task” at the management level of every administration, every organization, and every company. Strictly speaking, the task is to consider and take into account the different interests and concerns of both women and men in the structure, in the formulation of processes and workflows, in communication as well as in management and to take control right from the start. Only in this way can the goal of general equality and equality orientation of women and men be successfully achieved.

Gender and Discrimination

Discrimination against one gender is of central importance in the context of gender mainstreaming. As we all know, gender mainstreaming means the equality of both women and men – and that in their very individual diversity. This gender equality is based, within the framework of this administrative action, on the avoidance of gender discrimination.

Discrimination can take on very different faces, either with regard to the female or male sex. Strictly speaking, gender orientation requires respect for social, cultural and normative dimensions and also in sports where inequality is still pretty common. It is particularly important here that no disadvantages are linked to general gender affiliation or general gender roles. In this context, the talk is of disadvantages if people are harmed – i.e. if they are not given an opportunity, including a professional one, or if they are excluded.

Generally speaking, a distinction can be made between two types of discrimination:

Direct or direct discrimination: This type of discrimination occurs when a woman or man is deliberately or clearly disadvantaged because they are either male or female. This type of discrimination is also the case if the person does not correspond to an explicitly existing stereotypical notion of man or woman.
Indirect discrimination: This type of discrimination is mentioned if an action or measure which appears to be neutral clearly disadvantages either men or women, i.e. one gender. This type of characterization of the discrimination just described is laid down various international laws.

To give you a few examples: A collective agreement sets different wages and salaries for men and women who perform the same work. A company regularly assigns other, more highly qualified tasks to men, because the opinion prevails that men can cope better with these tasks than women. This is called stereotyping.

A company assigns different tasks to men than to women because it is assumed that women are “responsible” for certain tasks (comparison: women belong in the kitchen). This is referred to as a clear assignment of roles, which means that certain tasks are immediately associated with women.

A colleague continuously writes e-mails to his colleague in which he compliments her on her figure, appearance, clothes, etc. The colleague is also a member of the team. This also includes invitations to a meeting for two after work. This is called sexual harassment.

Examples of indirect or indirect discrimination:

A building, restaurant, or office has two toilets, i.e. closed compartments, for men and four urinals, but only two compartments for women.
A business, company or enterprise requires both male and female employees to dress appropriately. According to this, men in suits and women in costumes with skirts must appear at work. This suggests that neutral regulation thus focuses on traditional roles. Without explicit justification, this regulation would be indirectly discriminatory – in this case even for both sexes.
Regulation is based on the fact that part-time employees are not entitled to certain company-related benefits. Due to the fact that the majority of part-time employees are women, gender discrimination can be assumed here.