The fourth - and last (for 2022!)- Learning Lab of the “Women for Women” series took place on December 2nd. The Lab was a discussion on how to include a gender perspective into everyday work and to incorporate it into institutional context. The discussion is also linked to existing ILC tools and actions such as the ILC Gender Audit Methodology: in fact two of the speakers served as focal points for the implementation of an internal Gender Audit in 2020.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
The Learning Lab covered the following topics:
- How to bring a gender perspective into everyday work.
- How to ensure organisational institutional commitment to gender justice.
- Why a Gender Audit is useful and how to conduct it.
MEET THE EXPERTS
The lab hosted three inspiring speakers:
- Faith Mutuku - Gender Programme Officer at We Effect regional office of East Africa
- Ana María Restrepo Rodríguez - Researcher on Social movemnts, land and terriotories at CINEP
- Dewi Sutejo - Deputy of Jaringan Kerja Pemetaan Partisipatif /Indonesia Community Mapping Networks (JKPP)
How to bring a gender perspective into everyday work
Faith's presentations focused on three main questions:
- How does We Effect integrate gender perspective in its work ?
- How do you support partner organisations to integrate gender justice in their organizations?
- How do you address the challenges that arise while promoting gender justice?
As Faith explained We Effect is a development organisation that works in more than 20 countries and focuses on sustainable rural development and adequate housing, inspired by principles of gender transformation, climate justice and Human Rights Based approach.
The Promotion of Women rights is one of We Effect organizational strategic goals; and organization achieved significant milestones in its 2017-2021 with regard to women’s rights.
We Effect is equipped with internal policy documents aimed at promoting gender equality, fighting against sexual harassment and addressing gender based violence; its commitment to Gender Justice is also reflected in the staff composition, recruitment policies, equal opportunities, parental leaves, dedicated staff and specific trainings.
Consistently, We Effect works with its partner organisations to promote these same values. It does so, among others actions, supporting Gender Audits, ensuring the presence of a gender focal points in each organization, strengthening capacities and reinforcing the nexus between Gender equality and other key topics (e.g climate change, financial inclusion , food security, land rights).
Among the challenges faced in promoting Gender Justice Faith highlighted limited capacity (especially at partners level), still low women representation (in particular at managerial level), external factors (such as policies, cultural norms, perception or attitudes) and limited women’s participation in typically male dominated value chains.
A successful gender audit
Ana Maria, on her side, presented in details the current structure of CINEP, which proves a balance in the overall staff composition, but a significant difference in share of women and men based on the tasks: 80% of women in the administrative team and 80% of men in the management.
Her presentation focused on:
- Whether CINEP has a gender perspective
- Which process lead to the current situation
- Which tools were developed to achieve these objectives
Ana Maria described the process of engagement in the Gender Audit supported by ILC and the road map that lead to its successful implementation. Several staff members were involved and engaged in conducting the audit. Ana Maria highlighted the importance of the commitment at management level. In fact, a significant achievement of CINEP engagement in promoting Gender Justice is also the fact that the organisation currently has a woman as director.
The presentation also covered dedicated post-cards (see presentation) to clearly communicate about sexual harassment, in particular in the workplace, and how CINEP responds to sexual harassment on the workplace; such as dedicated channels to denounce, ensure protection, confidentiality and security to the victims, fighting against gender stereotypes.
Ensuring organisational institutional commitment to gender justice
Dewi also reported about a successful Gender Audit, conducted by JKKP. In particular her presentation covered:
- The reason why JKPP engaged in conducting a Gender Audit using ILC Methodology
- The main achievements and challenges that emerged
- How the situation changed since the implementation of the Audit in 2020
While gender mainstreaming was already included in several projects, the Gender Audit highlighted that most of JKPP staff considered they had not enough knowledge about gender matters. On the other hand, the practice and the working environment and polices were proved quite gender sensitive. However, lack of knowledge and capacity, in particular with regard to community mapping processes, represent the most significant challenge for JKPP.
In fact, the Gender Audit, resulted in both an higher commitment to discuss and include gender perspective in JKPP work and a focus on learning. Being JKPP a members organisation this commitment is also reflected in the actions implemented with and by its members, with a special focus on participatory mapping methodology (which is JKPP’ core activity).
Also for JKPP organisational commitment emerged as a crucial component to achieve the inclusion of a gender perspective in the work of the organisation; involving gender experts and implementing participatory observation in conducting the audit are both considered significant elements to conduct a successful Gender Audit.
Beside the importance of organisational commitment, which clearly emerged as a fundament step to effectively include a gender perspective in organisational work; one of the most significant elements that emerged both from the interventions and from the public was the importance of taking into account the specificities of members organisations, while promoting gender justice and supporting them in conducting audits or including a gender perspective in their own activities.
The discussion also highlighted the importance of the following elements in order to promote gender justice within the organisations:
- continuous improvement of gender modules
- internalisation and implementation of gender policies
- capacity development
- self-assessment at organisational level
- capacity building for women in the organisations to take effective leadership roles
- constant reflection about challenges that might arise, even when a gender perspective is taken into account and institutionalised