Gender mainstreaming in government agencies

Published

The Government’s development programme for gender mainstreaming in government agencies (GMGA) aims to strengthen these agencies’ gender mainstreaming to ensure that their activities contribute even more effectively to the achievement of the national gender equality policy objectives.

Gender mainstreaming requires long-term development and change programmes, and the inclusion of a gender perspective in all decision-making processes at all levels. The ultimate aim is to build a gender equal society, with government agencies providing equal conditions and services for everyone, regardless of gender. It is a matter of justice, but also of quality and efficacy of publicly financed activities. GMGA was launched in 2013 and today encompasses 60 government agencies.

The Swedish Gender Equality Agency supports these agencies’ gender mainstreaming efforts. The Minister for Gender Equality has also regularly hosted meetings where the participating agencies can present their results, share their experiences and discuss challenges associated with GMGA.

Evaluation finds that GMGA is yielding results

The Swedish Agency for Public Management was tasked with evaluating GMGA. The evaluation, presented in the second half of 2019, found that GMGA has contributed to more agencies carrying out extensive work, changing their working methods, achieving more results and consequently increasing gender equality among their target groups. The Swedish Migration Agency, for example, has begun to apply the principle that all adults receive a bank card of their own, instead of – as previously – only the man in the family. Two other examples are the Swedish Tax Agency, which has developed a more gender equal approach to receiving people at its service offices, and Vinnova, which has increased the percentage of women leading Vinnova-funded projects for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

New model to enhance agencies’ gender mainstreaming

The Government has decided to task the Gender Equality Agency with boosting gender mainstreaming in government agency activities. The Gender Equality Agency is required to work with the National Financial Management Authority, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service, the Swedish Tax Agency and the Swedish Research Council to develop and implement a model for systematic exchange of experience and mutual learning in the areas of gender mainstreaming and gender-responsive budgeting in the public sector.

This will help agencies strengthen their gender mainstreaming efforts, and develop and follow up their working methods for increasing gender equality in their target groups based on gender equality problems in their activities or in society. The aim is to ensure that agencies’ core activities contribute even more effectively to the national gender equality policy objectives, and the overall objective that women and men must have the same power to shape society and their own lives. The model should also contribute to the dissemination of results, experience and lessons learned between government agencies.