Gender mainstreaming is a strategy used in equal-opportunities policy. It encourages questioning of all of an organization’s decisions and activities in relation to their effects on women and men and whether they contribute to the establishment of gender justice.
On 19 December 2000, the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) incorporated the concept of gender mainstreaming into the promotion guidelines of the Federal Child and Youth Plan (Kinder- und Jugendplan, KJP) in order to enhance equality between boys and girls. This means that organizations funded by the KJP are obliged to implement gender mainstreaming. In the spring of 2002, this DJI project group was commissioned by the BMFSJ to monitoring and enforcing the implementation of gender mainstreaming in KJP-supported organizations, in order to make a contribution to operationalizing this gender-policy principle in the field of child and youth welfare services.
The aims of the research project are, on the one hand, to evaluate the extent to which gender mainstreaming has been implemented in the organizations concerned and to identify structural conditions that promote or inhibit implementation. On the other hand, the scientific monitoring process is also intended to make a contribution to the practical implementation of gender mainstreaming in associations and youth-welfare institutions, both at the level of organizational development and staff development and also at the level of educational practice, through the provision of information and specialist expertise.
The methods of investigation used include analysis of documents, full quantitative data collection using questionnaires, discussions with experts, interviews, and focus groups. These are intended to provide information, feedback of research results and documentation to encourage the initiation of gender mainstreaming processes, and handout materials for ongoing implementation procedures.
The results show – after evaluation of 25 focus groups conducted at workshops and meetings, 20 expert interviews, 362 report statements on gender mainstreaming, and 140 questionnaires completed by various organizations – that gender mainstreaming has by and large been accepted as a requirement by the bodies that receive sponsorship under the Child and Youth Plan and that apparently only a few organizations are still avoiding it. Gender mainstreaming appears to have been accepted as a professional challenge.

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