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Fit for Gender Mainstreaming

The European Union plays an important role in ensuring the implementation of gender equity and gender equality in the member states. One example of this is the co-funded EU project 'Fit for Gender Mainstreaming – gender-sensitive transcending of borders between East and West' which fostered gender mainstreaming strategies at local level via a training measure for multipliers as well as via public events. It was geared to learning in and from Europe together.

Qualifying multipliers
The centrepiece of the project was a training measure consisting of four three-day modules and four on-site counselling days on concrete implementation projects. This training measure was aimed at training the participating gender teams as multipliers. Two woman/man-teams, so called gender teams, from the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria and Germany participated in the project. Those completing the training measure can subsequently advise institutions in situ and at local level on gender policies and gender mainstreaming and accompany implementation methods in situ. They offer advice to players from trade and industry, politics, from NGOs and other institutions at local level and jointly develop context-related measures

Imparting gender competences
During the training measure, knowledge on advice for the implementation of gender perspectives was imparted. Exercises and tools were tested and concepts were discussed among the participants during the training measure. The tools were tailored to the different country-specific contexts. Among others, the following tools were used: gender analyses of organisations and policies as well as working with planning tools, such as the Gender-oriented Programme and Project Planning tool (GOPP). The training course was implemented according to the principles of gender-equitable didactics; the methods that were mainly used included: change of perspectives, gender dialogue processes, work in gender-homogenous and gender-heterogeneous groups as well as work in gender teams. Project-oriented learning (learning projects), the independent designing of learning materials, sharing one’s own practical examples with others as well as the provision of helpful and considerate advice to and from colleagues were integral parts of the training measure.

Further developing working aids for training and counselling
This GENDER TOOLBOX contains all exercises and materials that were used in the context of the project 'Fit for Gender Mainstreaming – gender-sensitive transcending of borders between East and West' and consists of four sections:
exercises counselling check list materials.

The exercises are divided into exercises on raising awareness for gender issues, gender dialogue, gender at work and/or in
       specialised areas and on defining the right position of gender-political strategies.

The counselling section contains information on the approach of gender counselling, exercises to specify an assignment
       and to develop counselling concepts as well as a counselling example from local government.

The checklist section comprises all checklists and guidelines that were used during the project,
while the materials section contains information on gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting.
The exercises have been processed and refined so that it should be easy for experienced trainers to translate them into their own working environments, to adjust them, if necessary, and finally to use them. However, we wish to point out in advance that it is not advisable to simply try out the exercises without having had gender-competent, pedagogical practice. Gender-competent training in workshops, training and counselling sessions is tailored to overcoming our "two-gender culture", dichotomous viewpoints and assignments, and to opening up new gender-political leeway. However, by naming gender differences in our education and counselling activities and by raising awareness for them and shedding light on their social construction, we still run the risk of reproducing and consolidating differences and stereotypical assignments. Therefore, with regard to the realisation of the exercises trainers must make sure, during the joint evaluation round in particular, that detected or constructed gender differences are not biologically interpreted and thus consolidated, but analysed in the context of social constructions. The relativity and contextuality of gender must always be to the fore.

It is envisaged that the GENDER TOOLBOX should also be available on the Internet and further developed once the project has ended. Consequently, we would be very grateful for any suggestions, ideas and remarks that facilitate the use of the TOOLBOX.

Angelika Blickhäuser und Henning von Bargen,
Training team of the project 'Fit for Gender Mainstreaming'

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