Gender Mainstreaming: A Reminder

Gender Mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality. Mainstreaming is not an end in itself but a strategy, an approach, a means to achieve the goal of gender equality. Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities – policy development, research, advocacy/ dialogue, legislation, resource allocation, and planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes and projects.


Since 1997 the Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women has been charged with supporting and overseeing the implementation of the policy mandates. The mandate of the Special Adviser on gender mainstreaming covers the whole United Nations system, and the role of UN Women in this respect is, of necessity, largely a supportive and advisory one. An important additional element is monitoring and reporting on progress with gender mainstreaming. The office has two professional staff dedicated to supporting gender mainstreaming.

In promoting, facilitating and supporting the implementation of gender mainstreaming throughout the United Nations, the Office of the Special Adviser has initiated consultations on gender mainstreaming with senior management in many different United Nations entities and developed methodologies, tools and information materials. The office works to create awareness of the benefits to programme outcomes of incorporating gender perspectives into work programmes throughout the United Nations system, including in departments within the Secretariat. The objective of these efforts is not to “do” gender mainstreaming for other parts of the system but to stimulate all entities within the United Nations to take gender perspectives into account in their work programmes, as called for in the Platform for Action, ECOSOC Agreed Conclusions 1997/2 and all other intergovernmental mandates. Progress report from UN WomenSupporting Gender Mainstreaming. The work of UN Women

A strong, continued commitment to gender mainstreaming is one of the most effective means for the United Nations to support promotion of gender equality at all levels – in research, legislation, policy development and in activities on the ground, and to ensure that women as well as men can influence, participate in and benefit from development efforts. There is a continued need, however, to complement the gender mainstreaming strategy with targeted interventions to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly where there are glaring instances of persistent discrimination of women and inequality between women and men.

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About the editor:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at and @ericbritton

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