The purpose of this STANDARD is to ensure that gender equaliy is implemented in the ESF in a way that will:
- be a complement to specific initiatives targeting existing gender inequalities;
- support the achievement of gender equality objectives set up by the European Union and the Member States.
Gender mainstreaming in the ESF is the coherent integration of a gender perspective into all steps of the ESF policy process. It requires both a clear strategy and concrete measures to be implemented by all the key stakeholders within the ESF policy process. Gender mainstreaming must be implemented in a coherent manner in all parts of the process. Experiences from gender mainstreaming implementation must be used to inform policy-making and improve policy impact.
In order to be successful gender mainstreaming:
- must be an ongoing process, not a single, one-off activity;
- needs to be integrated throughout the whole policy cycle, not in a piecemeal or ad hoc manner;
- must be implemented through a clear strategy, with sufficient resources to ensure its concrete implementation, and progress should be monitored and results evaluated;
- must be implemented in a coherent manner, by first identifying gender gaps then designing and implementing appropriate measures (gender mainstreaming or specific measures) to address them;
- and the lessons learnt from its implementation must be used to improve policy-making and policy impact in all ESF fields of action, to challenge the notion of “gender neutrality” i.e. that gender has no relevance in certain policy areas or processes and increase awareness and knowledge among ESF actors.