Friday, February 24, 2017

Recommendation of the Council on Gender Equality in Public Life 1/6

There is growing awareness among the global community that gender equality is a cornerstone of inclusive growth. Gender-balanced leadership and gender-responsive policy making are more likely to ensure that the benefits of growth are shared equally. Women’s full involvement in decision-making and agenda-setting are crucial for adequately reflecting the priorities and needs of all members of society. It also contributes to generate greater trust of citizens in public institutions. 

While governments are increasingly implementing gender equality initiatives, the pace of progress is slow and varies across countries and levels of government. Women’s participation has been increasing in middle/senior management levels in many OECD countries. However, the disparities between men and women increase as one climbs the organizational ladder. Women still lag behind men in access to decision-making and leadership positions, while men continue to be underrepresented in caring professions such as nursing. While gender considerations are embedded in social sector initiatives, such goals are barely articulated when it comes to other sectors, such as transport, urban infrastructure or energy. 

Governments also continue to face challenges in designing inclusive and gender-sensitive public policies, and in ensuring that gender equality initiatives are effectively implemented. These remaining gaps not only undermine the well-being of societies, but represent missed opportunities for achieving economic growth that benefits all. To be successful, governments need effective governance mechanisms, and sound public sector capacities to ensure effective implementation of gender equality initiatives.

 In the framework of the OECD Gender Initiative, the path-breaking 2015 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Gender Equality in Public Life complements the 2013 OECD Recommendation on Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship by focusing on the implementation mechanisms to ensure the policy impact. The 2015 Recommendation promotes a government-wide strategy for gender equality reform, sound mechanisms to ensure accountability and sustainability of gender initiatives, and tools and evidence to inform inclusive policy decisions. It also promotes a “whole-of-society” approach to reducing gender stereotypes, encouraging women to participate in politics and removing implicit and explicit barriers to gender equality. 

This Recommendation is unique, as it provides not only governments, but also parliaments and judiciaries, with clear, timely and actionable guidelines for effectively implementing gender equality and gender mainstreaming initiatives, and for improving equal access to public leadership for women and men from diverse backgrounds. 

This Recommendation was developed by the OECD Public Governance Committee, in cooperation with the OECD Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee, as a critical part of the Organisation’s Inclusive Growth Initiative. This work builds on the extensive expertise developed by the Public Governance Committee and its policy communities, including the 2014 report Women, Government and Policy-Making in OECD Countries: Fostering Diversity for Inclusive Growth.

 This Recommendation was developed through a global stakeholder consultation process with OECD Committees, government officials, parliamentarians, representatives of the judiciary, experts and civil society organisations. It represents the political will of OECD member countries to promote gender equality to achieve inclusive growth. I encourage adherents to use this Recommendation actively, and implement it to achieve fairer societies and foster inclusive economic growth.
Angel Gurría
OECD Secretary-General

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