Meeting on Addressing Gender in Public Management, 18th May 2009, Cairo, Egypt
Governments in Arab and OECD countries increasingly develop and introduce strategies, policies, and initiatives which pay attention to equality and equal opportunity objectives in the public sector. Addressing the question of gender in public management is critical for the empowerment of women and for the promotion of good governance.
Within the context of the OECD-Mena Governance Programme, and as follow-up to the decisions taken at the ministerial meeting in November 2007, a meeting on Addressing Gender in Public Management took place on 18 May 2009 in Cairo, Egypt. At the meeting, participants exchanged their experiences on empowering women in public decision making and fostering a gender balanced environment in the public sector by considering the specific needs of women within public management.
The meeting was organised by the Egyptian Ministry of State for Administrative Development, the Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
On this occasion, representatives from Arab and OECD countries established a Gender Focus Group with the task to reflect on the concrete measures required to introduce the gender dimension in activities undertaken within the OECD-MENA Governance Programme.
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The meeting was structured around two sessions. In the morning session, experts from Arab and OECD countries addressed the issues at stake when introducing gender strategies, closely involving an audience of public officials, representatives of the media and civil society. During the afternoon session, a restricted number of participants convened in the Gender Focus Group to identify thematic priorities for the regional policy dialogue between Arab and OECD countries on addressing gender in public management during the next two years.
Keynote presentations gave a comparative overview on gender approaches to public management in Arab and OECD countries. The keynote speakers drew on their experiences with national or regional strategies, action programmes and pilot projects for the promotion of gender equality in the public sector and presented recent trends, key developments, lessons and challenges. Participants addressed budgetary and regulatory instruments as well as organisational policies and procedures that can contribute to counteracting inequalities in the public sector. They identified key factors which help in overcoming obstacles to introducing gender initiatives in the public sector along with main institutional barriers encountered.
Participants underlined that a comprehensive gender approach to public management implies bringing gender concerns to the attention of the public sector, raising awareness about existing gender inequalities and adequately communicating policy objectives to public sector staff, political leaders, citizens and the media. In order to build support for gender policies and action programmes within and outside the administration, governments also need to develop strategies and tools for raising awareness on persistent gender inequalities in the public sector and for communicating the expected benefits of the action programmes.
Speakers also pointed out that successfully implementing gender objectives in public policies requires that administrations develop specific training programmes and/or guidelines for staff across levels of hierarchy in order to ensure the integration of gender objectives in public actions, communications and relations in the work place.
Based on the presentation of position papers and the following brainstorming exercise, the focus group identified the below thematic priorities for the regional policy dialogue between Arab and OECD countries on addressing gender in public management during the next two years:
Institutional approaches to gender policies
Personnel policies: Addressing gender objectives in the management of human resources
Integrating the gender dimension in public budgets, public procurement contracts and subsidies
Introducing gender analysis into regulatory frameworks
The focus group agreed that the OECD Secretariat would submit a questionnaire to several Arab countries and undertake fact-finding missions. The responses to the questionnaire will provide information on gender equality policies in the public sector that are under development or were recently implemented or evaluated by Arab countries. This input will contribute to a chapter on the gender approach in public management in the OECD Report “Modernising Public Management in Arab Countries”. To reinforce regional policy dialogue on gender issues in 2009-10, the OECD-MENA Governance Programme will provide Arab and OECD countries with the opportunity to share experiences and innovative approaches to promoting gender equality in the public sector. Also, in this context, regional meetings will be organized, involving representatives from governmental, non-governmental and international organizations, as a forum for exchange on strategies, action programmes and pilot projects for the promotion of gender equality in the public sector and instruments for implementing and financing gender equality policies. In order to build on synergies and avoid overlap, the focus group explicitly requested to streamline the gender activities in the existing four thematic Working Groups and not to create a new Working Group.
The next gender related meeting has been scheduled to take place on 1-2 October 2009 in Paris within the framework of the meeting of the OECD’s Working Party on Public Employment and Management.
Recent trends in Arab countries towards addressing gender in public management: Comparative overview on lessons and challenges - PDF 1,357KB. Mr. Yusef Hatira, Project Coordinator, Centre of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR), Tunisia.
Gender mainstreaming: A new challenge for the federal government and the administrations - PDF 76KB. Mrs. Carine Joly, Attachée, Institute for the Equality of Women and Men, Belgium.
Experience of the Ministry of Public Sectors Modernisation with the institutionalisation of gender equality in the public sector - PDF 210KB. Mrs. Kaoutar Alaoui Mdaghri, Head of Division, Observatory of Public Employment, Ministry of Public Sectors Modernisation, Morocco.
Personnel policies: Addressing gender objectives in the management of human resources - PDF 55KB. Mrs. Kaoutar Alaoui Mdaghri, Head of Division, Observatory of Public Employment, Ministry of Public Sectors Modernisation, Morocco.