What do we mean by ‘gender’?
"Gender” refers to the social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female and the relationships among and between women, men, girls and boys. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialisation processes. They are context- and time-specific and changeable. Gender determines what is expected, allowed and valued in a women or a man in a given context.
In most societies there are differences and inequalities between women and men in responsibilities assigned, activities undertaken, access to and control over resources, as well as decision-making opportunities. Gender is part of the broader socio-cultural context. Other important criteria for socio-cultural analysis include class, race, poverty level, ethnic group and age”. (Adapted from UNDP (2008) Empowered and Equal: UNDP Gender Equality Strategy 2008-2011)
What is gender equality?
‘Gender equality’ refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women, men, girls and boys. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female.
Gender equality implies that the interests, needs and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration – recognising the diversity of different groups of women and men. Gender equality is not a ‘women’s issue’ but should concern and fully engage men as well as women. Equality between women and men are seen both as a human rights issue and as a precondition for and indicator of sustainable, people-centred development”. (Adapted from UNDP (2008) Empowered and Equal: UNDP Gender Equality Strategy 2008-2011)
What is gender equity?
‘Gender equity’ means fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities. In the development context, a gender equity goal often requires built-in measures to compensate for the historical and social disadvantages of women. (IFAD Glossary: http://www.ifad.org/gender/glossary.htm, Last accessed, 23 October 2012)
What is gender mainstreaming?
Gender mainstreaming is the process of integrating a gender perspective into all policies, programmes and activities. It aims to bring about fundamental and lasting change by transforming the structures that create and perpetuate gender inequality.
By asking all policymakers to consider the different ways in which any policy may affect men and women, and boys and girls, gender mainstreaming tries to put gender issues at the centre of planning and policy. The ultimate goal of gender mainstreaming is to achieve gender equality.
What are the legal and political frameworks that guide the Commonwealth’s work on gender equality?
Read information on policy frameworks >>
How do we ensure gender equality within the Commonwealth Secretariat?
The Gender Equality Policy has been instituted to strengthen the policy and operational framework of the Secretariat to promote gender equality in its internal systems and processes, as well as programmes of assistance.
A supporting Implementation and Reporting Framework is under development. This will provide details regarding the specific roles, responsibilities, strategies, activities and indicators for the effective implementation and monitoring of the Policy across the Secretariat.
What are national women’s machineries?
The national women’s machinery (NWM) is the focal agency or government unit that promotes gender equality. It is the ‘engine’ through which the process of gender mainstreaming is implemented, coordinated, monitored and evaluated.
What does gender responsive budgeting mean?
Gender responsive budgeting (GRB) provides a means for determining the effect of government revenue and expenditure policies on women and men, girls and boys. These initiatives, led either by governments or civil society groups, involve the examination of the gender distributional outcomes of budgetary allocations, that is, how these allocations affect the economic and social opportunities of women and men.
What does gender responsive investment mean?
Gender responsive investment is the facilitation of access to finance to women and capital flows to women-owned enterprises by governments, financial service providers and other relevant agencies. Additionally, it is the recognition that a more equitable allocation of productive resources, including finance, will have a greater impact on sustainable economic development, with long-term benefits for the whole economy.
What is the Gender Management System?
The Gender Management System (GMS) was established in 1998 to strengthen the abilities of national women’s machineries, the public sector and the Secretariat itself in promoting gender equality.
The key features of the System are:
How do we measure progress?
The gender audit of the Secretariat’s work provides a baseline for internal performance.
Where can I buy gender publications?
Our gender publications, which provide resources for increasing knowledge and awareness, can be found at the Commonwealth Publications site.
If we would like assistance from the Secretariat what should we do?
Requests for assistance from our Gender Section should be sent to:
Head of Gender
Social Transformation Programmes Division
London SW1Y 5HX
Fax: +44 (0)20 7747 6287