Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State? Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women

Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State? Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women

Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State? Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women

Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State? Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women

Synopsis

Democratization has become an important concept in the last ten years. With the end of the Cold War, the spread of globalization, and the extension of economic regulatory regimes, democratization has come to be seen as important to securing long-term political stability. Much has been written about democratization and gender in works on human rights, citizenship, women's movements and challenges to authoritarian regimes. This book, published in association with the United Nations, builds on this existing body of literature by looking at the relevance of national machineries for the advancement of women. Appropriate mechanisms through which the mainstreaming of gender can take place are considered, as are the levels of governance involved: the relationship between gender mainstreaming and state structures, and the effect of this relationship on issues of decentralization, accountability, consultation and participation. An attempt is made to define what the 'interests of women' are, and how and by what processes these interests are represented to the state policy making structures. Global strategies for the advancement of women, and how far these have penetrated at national levels, are considered. These are illuminated by a series of case studies: gender equality in Sweden and other Nordic countries, the Ugandan ministry of Gender. Culture and Social services, gender awareness in Central and Eastern Europe, and further examples from South Korea, the Lebanon, Beijing and Australia. This book will be of vital use to students of democratization, gender studies and politics, and is the first full-length appraisal of global strategies and national machineries for the advancement of women.

Excerpt

The publication Mainstreaming gender, democratizing the state? is reflective of the commitment of the United Nations, and in particular of the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), to the promotion of mechanisms that aim to be instrumental in the achievement of equality between women and men. National machineries for the advancement of women are such mechanisms.

The idea of national machineries was conceived in a recommendation of the World Conference on the International Women’s Year held in Mexico City in 1975. Since then, the subject of national machineries has been taken up systematically by the subsequent world conferences on women in 1980 (Copenhagen), 1985 (Nairobi) and 1995 (Beijing), as well as the various sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Beijing Platform for Action identified institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, including national machineries, as one of the twelve critical areas of concern. However, national machineries are not only perceived in the Platform as one of these areas of concern but also as the primary institutional mechanism entrusted with the implementation of the strategic objectives contained throughout the Platform at the national level. The outcome document adopted at the 23rd special session of the General Assembly on Beijing +5 has reiterated the significant role that national machineries play in promoting equality between women and men, gender mainstreaming and monitoring of the implementation of the Platform for Action as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

In the course of time, the mandate of these national institutions has evolved from promoting women-specific projects to ensuring that equality concerns are integrated into all government legislation, policy, programmes and budgetary processes. The ability of member states to subscribe to the global agenda for equality between women and men has been significantly enhanced by the creation of these national-level institutions. Yet the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action . . .

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