Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity Management – what does this mean,
why is it important and which added value does it bring for whom?
The implementation of Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity Management enhances effectivity of organizations, enterprises and programs; it positively supports equal opportunities for staff and organizational culture; it protects from legal risks and positions the image of an organization positively. Higher costumers’ satisfaction, better motivation and productivity of staff are some of the results.
Gender Mainstreaming derives from the word „Gender“ – which refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women; and the word „Mainstream“.Gender mainstreaming has been defined as a means to reach “Gender Equality” at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.
De facto Gender Equality is regarded as an important success criteria for the solution of social, economic and political challenges. Gender Equality can only be reached, if it is adhered to and mainstreamed into all fields of politics and policies, so as to lead to reorganisation, improvement, development and evaluation of decision making processes at all levels.
Gender Mainstreaming has been introduced in the European Union 1995. Since 1999 it forms part of EU primary law in the field of anti-discrimination and implementation is obligatory for all EU member states. Gender Mainstreaming actively includes women and men on equal level in all analytical concepts, and is complemented by affirmative action measures for gender equality. Gender topics thus have a central role, especially in the world of work. Obligations of enterprises are embedded in the Equal Treatment legislation of national states, and on EU level, especially in the Equal Treatment Directives.
Gender Mainstreaming has been introduced as a strategy to reach effective gender equality 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women of the United Nations. Gender mainstreaming is defined as: the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes in any area and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality. (ECOSOC, 1997).
The planning and implementation of gender mainstreaming is a complex concept, which needs to be integrated into all processes. The point of departure is normally a gender analysis, or a gender audit, which builds the basis for strategy development and adaptation.
I personally work with the internationally certified methodology of the ILO (International Labour Organisation), with a participatory approach to elaborate a „Gender Audit“, and if commanded, to develop strategic policy advise, recommendations and action plans.
The term „Diversity“ refers to strategies to maintain diversity in its different forms. Today apart of biological diversity, it is especially important in the fields of economic, cultural and social diversity. „Diversity indicates differences and comunalities, which shape individuals based on their personal identities, their different and commun origins and group memberhsip“ (Liegl, Wladasch: Vielfalt und Chancengleichheit im Betrieb, Vienna 2010).
The diversity topics, which are relevant in the field of legal compliance of are based on the specific national (and in our context - European) Equal Treatment and Anti-Discrimination Laws; and are mainly embedded in labour law regulations. In Austria important indicators are age, sex, ethnic origin, religion and world view, sexual orientation and disability.
By having the goal to support diversity within an enterprise of organization Diversity Management is a means to reach, to reach equal opportunities. It is the sum of all the measures taken, to implement an organizational culture in which pluralism and differences are accepted, approved and recognized as a positive contribution to the success of an organization. Enterprises, which do implement Diversity Management, are trying to use plurality and heterogeneity of staff and customers productively.
Diversity Management has been introduced as a human resource development approach internationally, and targets the optimal use of diversity of human resources and staff. Therefore, the diversity of life and job experiences, values and world views are understood as social capital of staff; and are seen as a value added for the economic success of an enterprise. Managing Diversity does not only mean to tolerate differences; but also to appreciate and appraise them.
Discrimination can be direct discrimination, where one person is treated less favourably than another who- is, - has been or - would be treated in a comparable situation on any grounds covered by the directive (racial or ethnic, sex, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation) in a comparable situation. It can also be indirect discrimination or harassment… see more under links at the bottom of the page
Which advantages do Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity Management entail?
- Protection from legal Risks: The fulfilment of the anti-discrimination laws in the world of work are strengthening equal opportunities for staff, and the respective „Gender and Diversity Compliance“ in enterprises and organizations.
- Prevention of Discrimination and enhanced Corporate Culture: Special measures for equal treatment and equality are contributing to supporting equal career opportunities for people who might otherwise potentially be discriminated against.
- Increase of Motivation and Productivity of Staff: less staff turnover due to higher satisfaction (e.g. family-friendly measures, etc.), and related less costs and access to new talent pools.
- Contribution to a positive Image of the Organization or Enterprise: Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity Management strongly contribute to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and thus to the public image, of enterprises.
- Better Products and Projects: more innovation and competitive advantage through more creative results
- Higher Customer Satisfaction: Access to new clients, and stronger costumer loyalty.
European Union:Gender equality in the labour market
Handbook on European non-discrimination law
Austria: Bundesgesetz über die Gleichbehandlung (Gleichbehandlungsgesetz - GlBG)
Austria: Gesamte Rechtsvorschrift für Bundes-Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz