Gender integration (or mainstreaming) is the process of assessing the implications for women, men and others of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women’s and men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes so that they benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.
While focus is often placed on making sure that women’s perspectives are reflected in planned actions, proper gender integration requires that due consideration is given also to the perspectives of men and others. It requires an analysis of how gender impacts the human rights of everyone, including LGBT and intersex persons. Gender integration goes hand in hand with the promotion and protection of women’s human rights and the elimination of discrimination against women. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.
What OHCHR does
OHCHR gender integration efforts are two-fold:
(1) Institutionalizing gender equality in OHCHR organizational culture, structure and processes;
(2) Advancing gender equality in all areas of OHCHR mandate (human rights mechanism support, field operations and technical cooperation, research and human rights mainstreaming).
OHCHR Gender Equality Policy (2011) (pdf) and its internal implementation plan, the OHCHR Gender Equality Strategic Plan (2014-2017) maps out concrete actions to advance gender equality in both the institutional setting and the work of the Office.
In addition, OHCHR also reports annually to the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP).
The UN-SWAP is a UN system-wide framework that will enhance accountability and measure progress towards the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women. It includes a set of 15 performance indicators that establish a common understanding of what it means to achieve gender equality and a common method to work towards it.
OHCHR has also strived to build awareness on
unconscious bias in recruitment processes that may prevent parity and greater diversity. A
video on unconscious bias in recruitment was launched jointly with IOM on 2 June 2017.
Gender Integration tools
OHCHR Gender Architecture
The OHCHR Gender Equality Strategic Plan and gender integration generally is to be implemented by all OHCHR staff, at headquarters and in field presences, supported by an office-wide gender architecture:
- The Women’s Human Rights and Gender Section (WRGS), which includes a full-time staff member dedicated to gender integration work
- Regional Gender Advisors, who are gender experts working in the New York Office and regional offices (Lebanon, Senegal, Panama and Ethiopia) providing advice on the integration of women’s human rights and gender perspectives in OHCHR work internationally, regionally and nationally
- Gender Facilitators, who are staff members at headquarters whose responsibilities include the facilitation of gender integration in their entity
- Gender Focal Points, who are human rights officers working in field presences with full time or ad hoc responsibilities in gender integration
- Departmental Focal Points for Women, who are elected members of the Staff Committee, with responsibility for monitoring the advancement of women within the Secretariat
- Advisers on sexual orientation and gender identity-related issues in New York and Geneva
Main thematic studies/reports/documents
OHCHR Women's Rights are Human Rights
Report of the Secretary-General: Mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system
Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on ways to bridge the gender digital divide from a human rights perspective
Annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Human Rights Council and that of its mechanisms
The Human Rights Council holds an annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout its work and that of its mechanisms. The annual discussions have been taking place since 2008, following the Council’s adoption in 2007 of
resolution 6/30, entitled “Integrating the human rights of women throughout the United Nations system.”
Resolution 6/30 “welcomes the panel discussion on the integration of a gender perspective in the work of the Human Rights Council, and decides to incorporate into its programme of work an annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout its work and that of its mechanisms, including the evaluation of progress made and challenges experienced”.
The following topics were covered during the previous Council annual discussions on gender integration: