ESF implementation managers engaged in planning, designing and implementing a programme, an action plan or a thematic priority from a gender perspective must have gender competence and fully understand what gender equality, gender mainstreaming and the dual gender equality approach is and how it can be implemented.
If they lack these competences or have only started to learn about it they need to seek specialist advice and assistance from a gender expert or gender support structure in order to make sure that the gender dimension is coherently integrated into the ESF implementation cycle.
For conducting the analysis, relevant gender competencies include:
- Expertise on the specific field of action or policy area (e.g. early school leavers, poverty, entrepreneurship, etc.);
- In-depth knowledge of the gender issues and gaps in the policy areas;
- Profound knowledge of the European Gender Equality Strategy and the Gender Equality Pact and national gender equality strategies and how their respective gender equality objectives relate to the area of intervention of the programme;
- Familiarity with methods and tools for a gender analysis in order to be able to integrate it into the thematic analysis;
- Familiarity with the use of gender-disaggregated data and qualitative research findings on the issue, as well as the identification of causes of inequality and gender gaps.
When setting gender-equality objectives in a policy area, relevant gender competencies include:
- A clear commitment by the highest level of management to the gender equality objectives;
- The ability to define clear and realistic gender equality objectives which will address the gender gaps and issues identified in the analysis. Responsible staff will need to define objectives in respect to specific gender equality actions, but also more generally for the whole programme;
- Familiarity with defining indicators, in order to establish relevant quantitative and qualitative indicators which will allow progress towards achieving gender equality objectives to be measured during programme implementation;
- Communication skills to clearly explain the objectives and indicators to all programme implementation teams so that they become shared and meaningful goals;
- Expertise to design application forms and guidance materials for project managers which reflect the overall programme objectives and indicators;
- Capacity to translate the gender equality indicators into data monitoring requirements for project managers.
Gender equality competencies for the implementation of a programme include:
- The ability to coherently integrate the gender dimension, relevant information and requirements for project promoters into all guidance documents;
- The ability to ensure that the gender dimension is integrated in a coherent manner throughout the project application forms;
- The capacity to set project selection criteria that reflect the gender equality objectives of the programme;
- Ensuring that project selection and assessment teams have a comprehensive understanding of gender mainstreaming and of the importance of the selection criteria on gender equality, as well as the capacity to make focused recommendations to selected projects regarding additional measures they need to take;
- Arranging for a gender expert to perform additional specialist analysis of all project applications in order to highlight specific areas in need of attention;
- Ensuring a clear top-down strategy regarding the coherent integration of gender equality into all the programme procedures. It is essential to formulate not only the requirements and incentives, but also the consequences if gender equality standards are not met by project promoters;
- Familiarity with the gender budgeting strategy in order to formulate requirements for project promoters.
Material on Gender Budgeting from the conference Gender Budgeting in the ESF – Opportunities, Examples and Limits”, Berlin, Germany organized by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany and the Gender-CoP
The monitoring of the transversal objective of gender equality in ESF programmes implies a need for:
- The ability to translate gender equality objectives into monitoring systems and tools such as the data collection system and database, and the design of the monitoring formula for project promoters to fill in;
- A thorough understanding of gender equality and gender mainstreaming issues, and of how this understanding should be applied in projects including the ability to provide concrete recommendations in cases of inadequate gender equality or dual approach;
- In-depth comprehension of the importance of gender equality objectives on the part of the programme monitoring-committee members
To ensure that gender equality is fully integrated into the process of tendering the monitoring of the programme gender competence (supplied either by in-house staff or with the assistance of external gender equality experts) is needed in how to specify the assessment of the transversal objective of gender equality as an explicit part of the contractual task of the monitoring and planning for the requisite resources being in place. The more thoroughly the transversal objective of gender equality has been established in a programme beforehand, in particular by setting clear gender equality objectives and indicators, the more effective and precise the monitoring can be on this issue.
For a sound evaluation of gender equality, the evaluation teams need gender competency, including theoretical knowledge as well as process, sectoral and methodological competency:
- Theoretical knowledge: familiarity with gender as a concept and social gender patterns such as women and men in their diversity and gender as a structural category;
- Process competency: familiarity with gender mainstreaming as a consistent strategy, as well as with methods and tools for implementation;
- Sectoral competency: familiarity with gender aspects of the field of intervention of the programme (for example, business creation, vocational training, etc.) and the ability to define sound sectoral objectives and targets;
- Methodological competency: the ability to apply and combine qualitative and quantitative methods and to generate and interpret gender-based data and gender-equality indicators.