Gender Mainstreaming



The Team




[ European Commission, DG V ]

© Sept 2001

European Database: Women in Decision-Making

Gender Mainstreaming Strategies in Germany

1. Action Plans for Gender Mainstreaming

Basic facts and figures Federal level
In June 1999 Federal Government adopted a resolution to integrate Gender Mainstreaming (GM) as a guiding principle into all policy areas. In July 2000 Gender Mainstreaming was made part of the Government's Programme "Modern State - Modern Administration" (Moderner Staat - moderne Verwaltung). Through an amendment the Federal Government Rules of Procedure were changed accordingly. The Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend - BMFSFJ) took the lead in
  • elaborating a catalogue of key criteria which will enhance the integration of the gender dimension in all Government's on-going activities and future policy development; and
  • establishing an inter-ministerial task force assembling senior officials from all ministries. Headed by the secretary of state of BMFSFJ the task force took up its work in spring 2000 and is meeting at two monthly intervals.
Formative evaluation is process targeted at change will be provided.

Länder level
Most of the 16 German Federal States (Länder) have prepared or are preparing their Gender Mainstreaming plans or activities (Gender Mainstreaming Konzepte) during the year 2001.
Essential objectives and features Federal level
Gender equality as lead principle must be applied to all political, legislative and administrative measures initiated and implemented by all Federal Ministries. This requires the integration of the gender dimension, but also well targeted positive actions to tackle existing gender gaps. Whilst striving to achieve this overall goal BMFSFJ launched five concrete projects operating in different fields:
  • personnel development in a perspective of gender mainstreaming within BMSFFJ itself;
  • researching gender aspects in the assessment and monitoring of portfolio performance;
  • gender impact assessment in the process of drafting new legislation for the support of senior citizens;
  • jointly with the Chancellors Office: development of checklists for applying gender mainstreaming to cabinet proposals;
  • jointly with project promoters in the field youth policy: development of tools for the implementation of gender mainstreaming
Also, the Federal Ministry for Environmental Protection is running a pilot project on the integration of gender mainstreaming in legislation and administrative implementation of protection against (nuclear) radiation.

All pilot projects are being monitored and discussed by working groups established in the respective ministries which also involve representatives of other public administrations and external experts.

Länder level
The Gender Mainstreaming plans (Gender Mainstreaming Konzepte) of the 16 German Federal States (Länder) are focusing on different priorities. Whereas the majority is concentrating on applying Gender Mainstreaming to the planning, programmation and implementation of the European Structural Funds - in particular the European Social Fund (ESF) - in their respective regions, others passed cabinet resolutions similar to those of the Federal level binding all portfolios to integrate Gender Mainstreaming into all areas of regional policy.

Some Länder are more advanced than others and tend to become trend setters for the others:
  • In September 2000 Berlin established a Gender Committee to advise and support the Government to apply gender mainstreaming in the implementation of the European Structural Funds, in particular the ESF. Also, the Land commissioned a study which is analysing gender equality in the past ESF funding period and undertaking a formative evaluation of the programming process of the current period. They study is aimed to produce guidelines and a manual helping both the administration and promoters to integrate gender mainstreaming in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluation ESF co-financed measures.
  • In July 2000 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern passed a cabinet regulation stipulating that all portfolios are held responsible for the implementation of gender mainstreaming. All decisions and programmes in all policy areas are to be subject to gender impact assessment and monitoring. Government is to report regularly to Parliament. Each policy area is to divided into easy to follow dossiers including the state-of-the-art, perspectives for action and concrete measures. Policy areas identified so far: labour market; economic affairs; rural development; education; sexual preference; social policy; environment; culture; violence.
  • The Lower Saxony cabinet decision from June 1998 made gender equality a general and transversal policy objective in the Land. With the Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs and Women in the lead, and inter-ministry task force embarked on planning, steering and supporting the implementation process of gender mainstreaming. The concept is already being applied to labour market policy programmes (including ESF); regional and urban planning; improvement of infrastructures supporting economic development. The concept is based on an approach with six steps: definition of objectives; analysis of situation of target groups; development of different options for action; implementation of decisions taken; monitoring and evaluation.
  • In North-Rhine-Westphalia gender mainstreaming is included in the partner agreement of the government coalition. It stipulates that regional and local equal opportunity counsellors must be placed as members of 30 so-called labour market regions. So far GM is being implemented through the programme "Women and Work" and all active labour market policy measures. In February 2001 the parliamentary groups of both parties forming the government (Social Democratsand Greens - SPD and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) pushed for GM as transversal principle to be applied to all policy areas.
  • Sachsen-Anhalt is probably the most advanced of the 16 German Länder. A cabinet regulation was passed in May 2000 which clearly demonstrates the top-down approach to GM and the government's political commitment to implement it. The Ministry for Labour, Women, Health and Social Affairs has a leading role in the process and is bound to produce yearly progress reports on gender mainstreaming involving all government portfolios. Tools were developed to help political decision-makers and the administration to check the gender and equality dimension through a five-step-procedure. An inter-ministry task force was established to link staff responsible for GM from all ministries and procedures developed to resolve eventually arising conflicts. Administrators responsible for GM in the lead Ministry are assessing the gender impact of programmes and measures proposed by other portfolios. They are proposing eventually necessary amendments to enhance the gender dimension in any given policy programme. Jointly with GM assessors in the Ministry of Labour the Land's Equality Counsellor is undertaking quality control thorugh the so-called gender controlling. In May 2001 Sachsen-Anhalt - as the first German Land - launched a Gender Institute. It combines research with pro-active strategies of awareness raising, training and monitoring.
Quantitative goals and timetables Federal level
The Government programmes "Innovation and Jobs in the Information Society" and "Women and p rofessional life" are being used as the first avenues for the implementation of gender mainstreaming. Both programmes, launched in 1999 by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research and the Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth respectively, are applying goals and timetables to equality objectives to be achieved by the year 2005:
  • 50 % female participation in the use of the Internet
  • 40 % women in initial vocational training for IT occupations and in computer science at universities
  • 40 % female business creators among IT start-ups
  • 20 % women as professors in universities
Allocated budget Federal funding - 2000/2001
  • Enhancing equality of women and men: 22 Million DM
  • Establishing structures for gender equality in higher education and professional training: 13.6 Million DM
  • Promotion of women in higher education: 60 Million DM (to be topped by an equal amount of Länder funding)

2. Getting ready for Gender Mainstreaming

Awareness raising events and publications by governments, equality infrastructures, women's NGOs, trade unions, etc. During the year 2001 a great number of conferences and seminars is being organised by federal and Länder governments, equality counsellors at regional and local levels, women's NGOs and trade unions. These events are accompanied by an increasing number of publications often available as downloads from the Internet. Examples:
  • The network of women civil servants with responsibility for employment policies in the Länder is dedicating its fall meeting to gender mainstreaming. The aim is to get a clear picture of the state-of-the-art in the federal states and to foster exchange of ideas and experience.
  • The Land of Bremen is holding information meetings targeted at all cabinet members and heads of departments in different ministries.
Training targeted at various actors organised by governments, equality infrastructures etc. Federal level
The Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSFJ) has launched a project "Applying gender mainstreaming in measures co-financed by the European Social Fund". Part of that project is a training provision tailored to needs of the different players in federal and Länder level ministries: decision-makers, administrations and technical assistance infrastructures on the one hand and promoters that are planning and implementing ESF-cofinanced measures on the other.

A major visibility event as kick-off of this action-programme scheduled from mid 2001 to the end of 2002 is intended to inform and sensitise the public-at-large. The project also includes the evaluation of ESF-co-financed projects as examples of best practice for gender mainstreaming and a final report assessing the impact of the exercise.

Länder level
Many Länder have undertaken similar training efforts or are planning to do so during the year 2001. The Länder GM concepts reveal different priorities. Examples (2000 -2001):
  • Hamburg trained administrative staff responsible for ESF-funding from different portfolios and relevant project promoters. The Land's equality infrastructure (Senatsamt für Gleichstellung) is also working on tailor-made GM seminars targeted at senior management responsible for modernisation of administration and economy; public procurement; quality management etc.
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern held an awareness raising and training meeting for all members of Government in January 2000, training for various levels of decision-making and administration is to follow.
  • Lower Saxony started activities both inside and outside of the Ministry for Labour and Women that is taking the leading role in the implementation of the Land's GM concept. Introduction workshops were held in all departments of the ministry and a gender module integrated into the existing training programme for senior civil servants and employees. An information and awareness raising event involved all members of government as part of a reflection day. Furthermore, a series of information and training workshops on GM was organised for senior officials and staff of other ministries and committees of regional parliament.
  • Rheinland-Pfalz launched its first GM training event for political decision-makers and senior officials from the various ministries in November 2000. This first step was followed by a continuing education programme for local equal opportunity counsellors. Workshops for departments in key ministries are scheduled all through 2001.
  • Sachsen's Regional Centre for Political Education is setting up a database containing information on gender experts and trainers with expertise in GM. Government started an exchange of ideas and best practice with local equality counsellors.
  • Sachsen-Anhalt developed a comprehensive schedule of training events targeted at different players and published a brochure on GM and its implementation as intended by the Government.
  • Thüringen organised an awareness raising seminar targeted at heads of departments of ministries and top level regional institutions.
Research and study
  • Sachsen-Anhalt enforced regulations stipulating gendered data collection and analysis as part of the GM tasks of each portfolio and as pre-condition for research and study.
  • Berlin commissioned a study which is analysing gender equality in the past ESF funding period, undertaking a formative evaluation of the programming process of the current period.
  • Brandenburg contracted a similar study looking all European Structural Funds. Recommendations include the setting up a specialised unit for gender mainstreaming and gender advisors in all relevant ministries.
  • Sachsen financed another study along the same lines.
Information and funding of women's NGOs in a perspective of making them key-actors in the process of gender mainstreaming The German Women's Council (Deutscher Frauenrat - DFR) is the umbrella organisation of women's NGOs and women's chapters in mixed NGOs, trade unions, churches etc... DFR infrastructures and most of its activities are funded by the Federal Government. In June 2001 DFR organised a conference assembling all member organisations to discuss the role of women's NGOs in the process of gender mainstreaming. The idea was to inform and mobilise them for creating a mushrooming effect. Meanwhile DFR members are busy organising their own events, seminars and campaigns to bring on board their regional and local affiliations.

3. Gender mainstreaming targeted explicitly at women in decision-making

Tackling gender gaps in decision-making - in both the political arena and in economic and cultural life Tackling gender gaps in all societal strata is a overall objective of the Federal Government and also mentioned as part of the envisaged German activities in the framework of the Peking + 5 process.
Vertical desegregation of the labour market (i.e. enhancing women's access to senior management and decision-making levels) as a priority among measures described under pillar 4 of your country's National Action Plan for Employment (NAP) Germany's NAPs (1999 and 2000) mentioned the vertical segregation of the labour market and expressed the need to bridge these gender gaps. Yet, goals and timetables are only being used for higher education and research: By the year 2005 20 % of tenured professors should be women. Furthermore, the NAPs announced new equality legislation. In addition to binding the public sector the proposed law was to make equality plans for private companies an obligation. Yet, after considerable pressure of employers organisations the Government decided to not introduce the bill into the legislative procedure. An agreement was signed instead by Government and employers. It is aimed at launching measures to enhance equal opportunities in private corporations involving key themes such as improving initial training for young women, reconciliation of working and family life as well as career advancement and promotion of women to senior decision-making levels. The implementation of the agreement will be accompanied and supported by a two-partite working group which will furnish a first assessment of results by 2003. Government will take no further legislative action binding the private sector if the agreement yields satisfactory results.
Strategies and measures targeted at vertical desegregation in the Community Support Frameworks and Operational Programmes for the new Funding Period (2000-2006) of the European Structural Funds Given Germany's federal structure most Community Support Frameworks, Operational Programmes (OP) and Single Planning Documents for the European Structural Funds are drawn up at the Länder level. The European Social Fund's (ESF) approach "investing in people and developing human resources" allows more easily to define equality objectives and programmes aimed to tackle gender gaps. There are, however, ESF OPs for both objective1 and 3 at the federal level document. They state - as most of their counterparts at Länder level - that dismantling gender specific disparities at decision-making and senior management levels as a major objective. Both positive action and mixed measures targeted at women and men are being funded.

to the top