Reflections and Resources on Gender Mainstreaming for Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month seems to have increased, or perhaps renewed, attention to the persistent issues that plague gender equity and inclusion, with many organizations in the international development community asking what we must do to advance gender equality in our sector. This year’s events marked a particularly important milestone for iDE Global. We launched a Gender Mainstreaming microsite that provides a curated suite of solutions, quickly accessible through three different user journeys, to the varied aspects that must be considered to ensure an organization is truly equitable for all employees. This site represents the culmination of our efforts to engage in a deep-dive into our own approach to shifting policies and practices to encourage higher levels of equity, diversity and inclusion within our own organization.
iDE embarked on a research project with gender specialist research partners to conduct a systematic review of existing literature and tools. Subsequently, a series of interviews with gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) managers and specialists in the sector were conducted. The goal was to not only craft iDE’s own approach to gender mainstreaming, but to share our findings with the wider international development community through a curated toolkit with specific user journeys. To that end, the research team gathered the data collected and sorted it into key themes for the next phase of our project: understanding user journeys. iDE’s Innovation Lab specializes in human-centered design and engaged the research team in a series of workshops. The workshops gave space to identify the best gender mainstreaming resources from the findings and compile them into a curated site, organized to best fit a user’s needs.
This exercise uncovered three distinct user journeys to guide users to those resources according to where they are currently in their level of mainstreaming, as well as their size and the type of their organization. These journeys roughly map to three types of users of a gender mainstreaming toolkit: leaders seeking to understand industry best practice, gender practitioners with a strong knowledge of gender mainstreaming and workers who had been tasked with mainstreaming gender into a specific area of their organization. We decided to tailor the entry point into our toolkit for each of these three groups:
Three Journeys Explained
With the gender specialist audience in mind, it is recognized that some visitors will have a strong base knowledge of gender mainstreaming issues, a comprehensive approach to their theory of change and a need to review tools most closely associated with specific approaches. These users have the ability to review our toolkit based on the gender mainstreaming methodology and approaches they are associated with.
Of course, gender mainstreaming is a crosscutting issue that can potentially impact program managers, human resources professionals, marketing and communications workers, people managers and more. These visitors are most likely have a quick question about integrating gender mainstreaming into a specific area of their day-to-day processes. With these users in mind, we provide a shortcut from answer to solution set.
Finally, leaders of global development organizations understand the increasing importance of integrating gender mainstreaming into their organization’s policies and practices, but may not have the specialized knowledge required to do so. With these leaders in mind, the research team developed a set of stories of change, generated from the interview phase, that can be accessed and filtered by organization size and level of mainstreaming. Users can benchmark against others in the sector and source inspiration for future improvements.
Limitations and Looking Forward
While this resource is the culmination of a rigorous research study, it is not static. iDE acknowledges the need for a dynamic resource that can grow and change to meet the gender mainstreaming needs of organizations in our sector. As such, tools, stories and resources continue to be added regularly. Future iterations of the resource will grow to include resources not only on the solution sets best placed to help our sector engender equality into our organizational culture, policies and practices, but build upon the integration of gender transformative practices for project implementation. Similarly, while we piloted our research approach on aspects of gender mainstreaming, the goal for future research is to expand to include tools and resources that encompass aspects of social inclusion, such as age, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, disability status and more.
We hope that the microsite will make it easier for organizations in our sector to make progress on critical areas of gender mainstreaming, not only during Women’s History Month, but all year long. You can learn more about iDE’s own gender mainstreaming journey, review the curated toolkit and suggest additional changes on our website or by visiting the Gender Mainstreaming microsite.