In order to ensure that the gender perspective is fully implemented in all aspects of the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of key national and regional programming documents for the Common Strategic Framework, it is essential to implement concerted efforts to build capacity, competences and knowledge on gender equality.
In order to develop capacity, it is important to focus both on:
- Associating high level gender expertise and knowledge to programming, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the programmes. Such expertise may include national or regional gender equality public bodies, specialised gender equality support structures, NGOs focusing on gender issues, academics specialising in gender issues, evaluators with gender expertise. Such experts can provide high-level insights into programme objectives and results, and guidance for all actors.
- Raising awareness about gender equality and gender mainstreaming among all actors involved in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating programmes. Raising awareness and ensuring that the gender perspective becomes a “nature reflex” can be achieved by a variety of means through a capacity-building plan including:
- Training including awareness-raising sessions with gender equality experts;
- Guidelines or guidebooks;
- Providing data (statistics);
- Providing examples of good practice (from other Member States, regions, projects, Operational Programmes);
- Clear specifications from the most senior level of management, with a requirement to provide feedback on this issue at regular intervals.
Gender equality as a horizontal perspective
Some ideas on how to address gender equality as a horizontal principle within national and regional programming include the following:
- Developing a capacity-building plan on gender equality for all the actors involved in the management of the Funds (all the relevant authorities, particularly the Managing Authority, as well the implementation bodies);
- Creating support structures for the Managing Authorities and implementing bodies as consultancy bodies for implementing the principle of gender equality; Examples of the different models of support stuctures developed in the 2007-2013 programming period are provided here
- Participation of the relevant gender equality bodies in the Monitoring Committees. Such participation cannot only be testimonial; these organisations must have specific roles within the Monitoring Committees;
- Creation of networks for the exchange of information and experiences on how to implement the principle, such as the Spanish National Network on Equality Policies in the European Funds 2007-2013 (see below).
Good example: Spanish National Network on Equality Policies in the European Funds 2007–2013
This network is a forum for debate and analysis to promote the real and effective implementation of the gender perspective in the interventions co-financed by ESI Funds. The members of the network are responsible for gender equality policies and management of European Funds at national and regional levels. The European Commission is also a member of the network.
The network’s functions are:
- to present and analyse the development of European and national policies on gender equality with impact on the management of the European Funds;
- to boost gender equality implementation from a technical point of view in the management and control systems of the Funds;
- to exchange information and disseminate good practices on the integration of the gender perspective within the European Funds;
- to develop proposals and tools for effectively implementing the principle of gender equality at all stages of the European Funds’ interventions.
The network has created a “gender equality helpdesk” to make advice and counselling available to all the European Funds’ actors, especially the Intermediate Bodies and other implementing organizations. Through the helpdesk, gender competence needs have been detected and capacity-building activities for gender equality have been developed.