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Gender mainstreaming in the Knowledge Based Society. Presentation made by Lilja Mósesdóttir WELLKNOW´s final conference in Brussels, September 23rd, 2005. Questions.

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gender mainstreaming in the knowledge based society

Gender mainstreaming in the Knowledge Based Society

Presentation made by Lilja Mósesdóttir

WELLKNOW´s final conference in Brussels, September 23rd, 2005

  • 1. Has the European Employment strategy (EES) tackled the employment and gender challenges of the Knowledge-Based Society (growth of “good jobs” and gender equality)?
  • 2. Has EES involving the gender mainstreaming strategy (GM) empowered women across Europe?
  • 3. Has EES including the GM been transformative or lead to a fundamental change in policy processes and in institutional structures at the national level?
the egs challenges of kbs
The EGs & challenges of KBS
  • The objectives of Employment Guidelines (EGs) in line with what has been identified as the challenges of Knowledge-Based Society (KBS).
  • EGs fail to acknowledge that some member countries have already achieved the objectives.
  • EGs do not acknowledge tensions and contradictions between different policy objectives.
    • The gender pay gap is smaller in countries with low female employment rate.
    • The gender gap in employment may also become smaller due to a growth in bad or low paid jobs.
    • Gender segregation is high in countries with high female employment rate.
the nap challenges of kbs
The NAP & challenges of KBS
  • The National Action Plans (NAPs) in the five partner countries and Hungary reflect the key employment and gender objectives of the EGs.
  • The EES (EGs & NAPs) seeks to ensure that the transition towards the KBS benefits both men and women by emphasising the need to tackle gender gaps in employment and to enable reconciliation of work and family life.
  • If gender equality is to be achieved, greater efforts are needed to:
    • change the unequal gender division of paid and unpaid work.
    • prevent traditional gender division of work to be reproduced in new sectors and jobs.
    • ensure that women’s skills are recognised as formal skills and rewarded financially in the same way as men’s.
    • enable employees to influence and choose their working times.
empowerment of women
Empowerment of women
  • The introduction of the GM into the EES has, so far, not altered women's underrepresentation in policy making processes.
    • New policy areas (KBS) are dominated by men.
    • Lack of cooperation among policy-makers across policy areas.
  • The introduction of GM has induced the national authorities to introduce a much more technical approach to gender equality.
    • Distance created between gender efforts and external actors.
    • The work in the field of gender equality is mostly managed by public officials.
  • The integration of the GM into the EES has created opportunities for women to act as political actors and experts at the EU level.
    • A pressure on national authorities to ensure women's representation across different policy fields and not only in areas traditionally assigned to women.
transformation policy goals
Transformation: policy goals
  • The integration of the GM into the EES has, so far, not lead to a transformation of this policy process (goals and measures).
  • In the EES, gender equality is perceived more as a derived objective of economic growth rather than a question of social justice.
  • The EES has made gender equality policies more employment orientated while employment policies are not always gender mainstreamed.
  • Women's limited power to challenge definitions of gender problems means that the focus is mainly on women's deficiencies and not on men's deficiencies.
transformation policies
Transformation: policies
  • All the seven countries have adopted the two-track strategy of GM and specific gender policy measures.
  • The meaning of GM vague and the strategy is at the stage of discourse and institutional building.
    • GM used as a rhetorical concept (Spain) or as a method (Finland and the Netherlands).
    • Almost any policy measure used as an example of GM.
  • Special measures are in most cases temporary, low budget initiatives which do not challenge male-dominated structures.
    • Efforts to increase the number of female students choosing technical education have been largely unsuccessful.
transformation structures
Transformation: structures
  • The various welfare state models in Europe do not only affect the ability of national states to activate women but also their capability to meet needs.
    • A more extensive public services difficult to integrate into the Continental and the Mediterranean welfare states.
    • The Nordic welfare states have been able to meet new needs such as universal access to ICTs and skills.
  • Countries starting at low level of gender equality progressing faster than those at high level.
    • The dual-breadwinner model is slowly becoming a reality.
    • The development is path-dependent.
    • The EES putting a lot of pressure on countries where the male breadwinner model prevails.
criticism of the gm
Criticism of the GM
  • A method without any specific outcome and funding.
  • Contradictory objectives
  • Targets – do not always address the most important gender problems.
  • No sanctions – efforts to solve gender problems dependent on the political priorities in the member state.
  • Institutional diversity– the impact of efforts to solve gender problems reduced by institutional structures ill-equipped to implement them.
  • Impact evaluation – difficult to measure comprehensive and qualitative changes
improvements to the gm
Improvements to the GM
  • Both the EU and national states must take on much greater responsibility for the progress towards gender equality.
  • Greater efforts are needed to integrate issues and criticism of social partners, NGOs and gender experts into the NAPs.
  • Each actor inside and outside the state apparatus must be given a clear responsibility for the realization of the GM and provided with the necessary time, money and tools.
  • Gender experts should be given the responsibility of evaluating policy implementation processes and outcomes on a regular basis at the national level.
improvements to the gm1
Improvements to the GM
  • The responsibility for the GM should be given to the prime minister’s office in each country.
  • Measures to promote gender equality must be changed from statements of good intentions to action programmes.
  • Measures implemented to tackle the gender gaps should be given the same priority and budget as KBS policies.
  • The focus of employment polices needs to be broadened from enabling women to combine work and family life to improving the unequal gender division of paid and unpaid work.
  • Measures must be taken to prevent traditional gender division of work to be reproduced in new sectors and jobs.