Gender mainstreaming

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Results — Gender mainstreaming in the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs

The purpose of this evaluation study was to examine the extent to which gender aspects have been taken into account in policy development, implementation and evaluation.

Introduction 

In 2015, the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department of the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs (IOB) published its report Gender sense & sensitivity: Policy evaluation on women's rights and gender equality (2007-2014). This policy evaluation dealt with the Dutch international gender policy and its three, mutually reinforcing, elements: (i) strengthening women’s and civil society organisations that are committed to women’s rights and promoting female leadership; (ii) gender diplomacy and (iii) gender mainstreaming, which integrates a gender perspective throughout the policy cycle, i.e. in the preparation, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all policies, regulations and expenditures to counter unconscious and/or structural inequalities between men and women (see figure 1). The report concluded, amongst others, that the ministry had not shown sufficient leadership and had lacked the knowledge, skills and means to really put the Dutch gender mainstreaming policy into practice. IOB’s first recommendation was therefore that the time had come ‘to move beyond rhetoric and to start making gender mainstreaming ... a reality and that gender issues should be included in the design and implementation of all policies, programmes and projects, and not just in those dealing with women or sexual reproductive health and rights’.

Key question

How and to what extent has gender been mainstreamed in Dutch foreign policy and development aid and what do we know of the results accomplished? 

Gender mainstreaming actions in the policy cycle
Figure 1. Gender mainstreaming actions in the policy cycle

Now five years later, IOB investigated what follow-up has been given to this recommendation. Using the policy cycle as the framework, this document captures the main findings of this evaluation that addresses two main questions: (1) How and to what extent has gender been mainstreamed in Dutch foreign policy and development aid since 2015 and what do we know of the results accomplished? and (2) Which actions does IOB recommend to undertake in order to further enhance gender mainstreaming throughout the Ministry?

Key findings

1. Define

Gender Mainstreaming Define

2. Plan

Gender Mainstreaming Plan

3. Act

Gender Mainstreaming Act

4. Check

Gender Mainstreaming Check