The OECD has identified proven measures to increase women’s participation in public life and has outlined pitfalls to avoid for those aiming to institutionalise gender equality.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a think tank which functions across 35 member countries, says its new toolkit will help governments, parliaments and judiciaries to design gender-sensitive public policies and services and accelerate their efforts to enable equal access for women in public decision making.
It builds on the 2015 OECD Recommendation on Gender Equality in Public Life and aims to speed up progress on gender equality goals. The OECD Toolkit for Mainstreaming & Implementing Gender Equality hopes to help create systemic change across state institutions and decision processes. It includes many country examples of good practices to illustrate the most effective policies and practices.
“This Toolkit aims to help and inspire policy makers in government and state institutions to implement new and innovative ways to promote gender equality. It will also get them to consider every aspect of policy through a gender lens,” said Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff, G20 Sherpa and leader of OECD work on gender equality. “As well as providing a manual for how to get more women into leadership, the Toolkit illustrates how formal and informal practices and procedures in state institutions can reinforce inequalities and gender-based stereotypes.”
The OECD says most OECD countries now have some form of gender quota in politics, ranging from voluntary political party quotas, legislated quotas in parliament, quotas in electoral law or gender quotas written into constitutions. However, women still hold less than a third of seats, on average, in lower houses of national legislatures in the OECD and less than a third of ministerial positions. The average share of women in senior management in central government and serving as Supreme Court judges is 32%. The use of measures to enhance the hiring and promotion of women is low in the civil service, and only a few countries have affirmative action in the judiciary to ensure gender balance.
The Toolkit looks at how gender goals need to be incorporated into hiring, career development and budget cycles. It promotes a comprehensive and coordinated approach across the executive, courts and parliaments and examines gender pay gaps, occupational segregation, complaint and appeal mechanisms and leadership accountability and it includes priority checklists and self-assessment questions for institutions to monitor their performance.
On gender pay equality in public administration, for instance, it calls on public sector employers to enact pay equality and equity laws and regulations, to identify the predominantly female and male job classes in the public sector and to evaluate wage differentials between them and whether there is a need for adjustment. It further recommends “regular and objective desk audits, targeting low-paid and/or female-dominated sectors to ensure pay equality and equity” and for the implementation of policy recommendations based on their results.
The OECD has also updated its Gender Portal with new data and analysis on gender inequality, including around 75 indicators on gender gaps in education, employment, entrepreneurship, public governance, health and development.