International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Gender Mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming was defined by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1997 as 'a strategy for making women's as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of...the policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.'

The relative status of men and women - the interaction between gender and race, class and ethnicity and questions of rights, control, ownership, power and voice - all have a critical impact on the success and sustainability of every development intervention.

In practice, gender mainstreaming means identifying gaps in gender equality. The problem areas include the development of accountability mechanisms; allocation of sufficient resources; attention to gender equality; targeting not just 'soft' areas for gender mainstreaming (such as health and education), but also supposedly 'gender-neutral' areas, such as infrastructure development and economic policies; and strong political commitment and will.

It is the intention of the TDA/SAP Approach to actively encourage gender mainstreaming practices to be incorporated into the SAP development process to ensure that all individuals, male and female, have the opportunity to participate and benefit equally. 

Further information can be found at: