PC 82/7 Rev.1

Eighty-second Session

Rome, 13-17 September 1999



Table of Contents

Gender mainstreaming: background


1. Gender mainstreaming within the United Nations (UN) system was defined in 1997 by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as “the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences integral dimensions in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and social spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality”.

2. Thus, gender mainstreaming refers to the process through which an organisation assumes a comprehensive gendered perspective. ECOSOC states that gender mainstreaming is not intended to completely replace the need for targeted, women-specific policies, programmes, and/or legislation. The principal goal is to address women and men’s needs on an equal footing in order to reduce gender gaps which usually are to the disadvantage of women. Furthermore, to address the structural causes of gender inequity over the longer term, targeting women may sometimes prove to be the most practical entry point for initially raising gender awareness.


3. The FAO Plan of Action for Women in Development (1996-2001) is the specific instrument for achieving gender mainstreaming within FAO at policy, programme and institutional levels. The Plan was reviewed and approved by FAO member governments during the 28th Session of the FAO Conference in 1995 (C 95/14 – Sup. – Rev. 1). The FAO Plan reflects international initiatives concerning rural women as incorporated in the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies and the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women. A major purpose of the FAO Plan of Action for Women in Development is to ensure a better understanding of the relative situation of rural women, including their contributions to and constraints in, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The Plan is intended to facilitate the incorporation of gender concerns in all technical areas addressed by FAO, and thereby enhance the benefits that both rural women and men derive from agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development. An innovative and participatory process required twenty-four technical divisions to formulate individual WID/gender Programmes of Action at the Divisional level. The Plan of Action reflects the objectives set by the Divisional Programmes of Action.

4. The World Food Summit (WFS) Plan of Action reinforced the importance of gender mainstreaming in FAO’s work. Indeed, Governments pledged in Commitment 1 of the WFS that they will: “ensure an enabling political, social and economic environment designed to create the best conditions for the eradication of poverty and for durable peace, based on full and equal participation of women and men, which is most conducive to achieving sustainable food security for all”.


5. This review shows that FAO has made progress in the implementation of the Plan of Action for Women in Development both in its institutional arrangements and in its assistance to Member Nations, especially in regard to the overarching goal of mainstreaming the integration of gender issues into the larger programme of work of the Organisation. To date, many Divisions have realised most of the objectives stated in their Programme of Action, whilst others have not been able to undertake some of their foreseen activities - in part due to limited human and financial resources, but also to changes in strategies and objectives since the Programmes of Action were prepared in 1995. This situation is also reflected at the regional level, where many Divisional Programme of Action activities are now managed and implemented.

6. In providing assistance to Member Nations, FAO continued to develop innovative and successful interventions oriented towards increasing rural women's access to and control of productive resources; participation in decision-making and policy-making at all levels; reducing their workload and enhancing opportunities for remunerated employment. Many of FAO’s activities highlight the crucial roles played by rural women in such areas as food security, household nutrition and family well-being, demographics, and ecologically sustainable development. In many countries, the institutional capabilities to recognise the different roles and responsibilities in agriculture of women and men, and hence address their differing needs and constraints, have been strengthened.

7. Given that development activities involve both men and women – although women’s contributions are often invisible in labour statistics – it is essential that their needs are addressed on an equal footing with men in order to overcome the ‘gender gap’ that sees women in a disadvantaged position vis á vis men. Efforts to sensitise FAO technical units and its Member Nations on this issue have been undertaken – such as World Food Day 1998 on the theme of “Women Feed the World”, as well as the seminar on “Gender related statistics in agricultural and rural development” that took place on 8 March 1999 and the High-level Consultation on Rural Women and Information that will take place from 4-6 October 1999. Divisions are increasingly recognising the importance of this issue and some have started to compile and analyse gender disaggregated data with the aim of providing guidance to policy-makers in promoting gender-responsive programmes for agricultural and rural development.

8. The available evidence indicates that there is a greater sensitisation to gender issues among FAO staff members. Indeed, a gradual shift from addressing rural women in isolation to considering both rural women and men as equal participants and stakeholders is taking place in many Divisions. Further, efforts in this direction will reduce the number of gender mainstreaming activities that are merely an ‘add on’ to development projects; as well as help eradicate the perception that gender is irrelevant to the work of some Divisions.

9. To improve the effectiveness of gender mainstreaming activities many Divisions have developed (or are in the process of developing) gender sensitive guidelines for specific topics and sectors. Such guidelines are necessary as they aim to provide clear directives on the implementation of gender related activities and clarity on the concept of gender mainstreaming in relation to the Division’s work. Management commitment and allocation of both human and financial resources are critical to the development of such guidelines, as they help ensure that the gender guidelines developed are useful to the Unit’s work, as well as ensuring ‘ownership’.

Gender mainstreaming in FAO Departments and Divisions


10. This section reviews the progress that the various Divisions have made in meeting the objectives set in their Divisional Programmes of Action. Each Division was required to identify the objectives embodied in their Programme of Action that they have successfully met and provide an analytical component for replicability, as well as identify those objectives that have not yet been achieved. This review exercise was also intended to be a learning tool and, thus, an analysis of the initiatives undertaken that encountered problems was also encouraged, with the aim to draw lessons for the future.

11. The assessment of the progress made by each Division is based on the following:

12. This part of the report is divided into sections that correspond to each of the FAO Departments and Divisions. Table 1 outlines Divisional reporting on reaching objectives, whether indicators of success were reported and whether gender focal points exist within their Divisions. Table 2 summarises the issues emerging from the review and their origin. These will be followed-up through internal mechanisms and procedures, such as COWID (cfr. paragraph 38), in the period remaining under the Plan and will be accounted for in a final report.


13. AGA has undertaken the majority of the planned gender related activities concerning farming systems, whilst the activities relating to domestic animal genetic diversity are in the process of implementation. The major constraint perceived by AGA in implementing its Programme of Action was the lack of tools to help assess the gender implications of on-going projects. Another limiting factor was the fact that external consultants were hired by AGA to write its contribution to the Programme of Action. This has , in some cases, constrained the commitment for implementing the Programme.

14. AGL has implemented specific projects that target mainly small-scale women farmers in order to intensify crop production in Central America. Its main activities vis à vis gender mainstreaming have focused on the training of women members in water users’ associations in order to improve their access to water resources and increase their production - an initiative that also falls within the framework of the SPFS. A project on "Women in Irrigation" covering four countries has been prepared and has received funding of the United Nations Foundation (UNFID) at the rate of 1.5 million USD. Further, AGL worked very closely with SDW to produce a ‘socioeconomic and gender analysis’ (SEAGA) guide on gender issues in irrigation projects that is now being diffused at the field level. The Division has also initiated projects in Costa Rica, Cuba and Nicaragua that apply a participatory planning methodology for small-scale farmers, who are mainly women, to intensify crop production through improved land and water use.

15. AGP has undertaken a wide variety of gender related activities within its normative and field programme initiatives. Most of these activities are ‘women in development’ oriented activities rather than gender mainstreaming, in line with the character and objectives of the work that AGP had planned in its Programme of Action for Women in Development. Among numerous gender related activities conducted by the Division was a study on the health effects of pesticide use among women spray operators in Indonesia. Further, AGP in collaboration with SDW and IPGRI organised a workshop on the role of women in the conservation and utilisation of plant genetic resources. AGP is continuing to explore the relationships between gender and plant genetic resources together with SDW and IPGRI. The Division has also made progress in the recruitment of female professional staff.

16. AGS has implemented some of the objectives foreseen by its Programme of Action. The activities of the Engineering Branch, in particular, has a strong and clear focus on gender analysis in agricultural engineering and produced a landmark analysis on ‘Tools and Implements for Women Farmers’. Another important activity undertaken by AGS in mainstreaming gender issues, was the gender disaggregated study which looked at the ‘Role of children in post-harvest handling in Asia’. The Division, in order to improve the security of money saved by men, and especially women, has produced a video on the topic of safeguarding savings deposits. Work on Market Information has concentrated on those crops which are handled more by women in the marketing chain, and for which sources of price information are less well-developed than is the case for cash crops, where the role of men is more prominent. The Division has contributed significantly to mainstreaming gender in farm level work through its support to the field programme. One example is FARMESA where gender is fully mainstreamed in field methods and programme governance.


17. ESA, in mainstreaming gender into its work, attempts to reinforce its capacity to reflect adequately the consequences of gender differences in economic and distributional performances of the agricultural sector. Consequently, ‘gender analysis’ is included as a desirable qualification in vacancy announcements for the recruitment of staff and consultants. Further, as foreseen by the Division’s Programme of Action, gender mainstreaming will include screening planned activities against the relevance of gender related issues, and developing methodologies for the integration of a gender dimension into analytical activities. However, until these systems are in place, discussion on gender inclusion in activities occurs on an informal basis. The main obstacles encountered by the Division in trying to meet the objectives incorporated in the Programme of Action were lack of staff time to develop new procedures and sufficient numbers of staff members who are responsible and knowledgeable in gender issues.

18. ESC – Although the Division considers most of its work to be gender neutral, it acknowledges that a number of its projects and activities lend themselves to gender mainstreaming by having obvious implications on women. Indeed, ESC has carried out socio-economic studies in some of its projects - for instance a West African rice productivity improvement project. In this case, the study was commissioned as a result of the project appraisal report that found that, although it is women who are primarily involved in low-land rice production, past efforts to transfer new rice technologies have often by-passed women farmers. However, the gender analysis of ESC projects is not systematically undertaken prior to project initiation, but instead occurs when project activities present unexpected negative results, causing a waste of resources.

19. ESN has made good progress in the implementation of its Programme of Action. It has been developing guidelines and training materials with an emphasis on gender concerns for many years. Furthermore, planners are asked to consider the potential nutritional impact of projects on individuals, households and social groups. Indeed, gender mainstreaming activities are automatically part of ESN’s work. This includes targeting both men and women on nutrition education, assuring the availability of gender disaggregated data, incorporating the results of analysis into policy advice, and ensuring women’s active participation in decision-making at the community level.

20. ESS has many on-going gender mainstreaming activities and has made progress in the inclusion of gender considerations in the planning of the collection and evaluation of data, particularly through national agricultural data collection programmes. ESS has made extensive progress in trying to meet its primary objective incorporated into the Programme of Action: ensuring that data disaggregated by gender is properly collected, disseminated and utilised through the FAO World Programme of Agricultural Censuses. This process is facilitated by the close collaboration established with SDW.


21. The main objectives foreseen by FI’s Programme of Action concentrate on achieving gender targets within the Department’s professional posts and the decentralized offices. In this context, FIR acknowledges the difficulty in recruiting female staff in a technical area where the vast majority of the current global expertise is male. It should be noted that the Information Data and Statistics Unit have initiated a breakdown of fisheries employment statistics by gender in fishing and fish farming but not in processing and marketing. Further progress in this area is constrained by the fact that member countries generally do not collect gender disaggregated data.

22. FIP recognizes that women may not gain access to technical fisheries information unless specific actions are taken to purposefully include them as an audience. This is slowly being taken into account when future activities are considered

23. FII has fostered a better understanding of gender roles, through the adoption of participatory approaches, resulting in the inclusion of gender considerations in the field programmes. Although the Division recognizes that fish marketing employs a high proportion of women workers, due to their lack of education and training they frequently are not selected by counterpart agencies as participants in specialized training offered by FII and its extra-budgetary financed projects.


24. The Forestry Department has achieved the objectives detailed in its Programme of Action. It is noted that there was no provision within the FAO Plan of Action for new activities to be added when the initial activities were completed, or for a revision of the Divisional Programmes in response to increasing awareness of the importance of gender in the development and implementation of forestry policies and activities. The Forestry Department recommends that gender sensitive formats for project proposals, reports and agendas be adopted at the institutional level and implemented as a top priority for making further progress in gender mainstreaming.

25. Within the FON Division, the Community Forestry Unit has accomplished the activities detailed in the Programme of Action. The Gender Analysis and Forestry Training Package (GAFTP), initially developed in Asia, has been adapted and translated for other regions. Field reviews on the Unit’s materials and publications have indicated the need to go beyond gender analysis towards the inclusion of gender guidelines in policy planning. Disaggregation of statistical data by gender has been hampered by the lack of gender disaggregated data at country level. This is partly a reflection of gender neutrality, but may warrant revised instruction to data providers where applicable.

26. FOP has increased awareness regarding gender issues through articles published in the annual Non-wood Newsletter, such as “Women and traditional medicine in the South Pacific”, and the Newsletter Forest Energy Forum, on the “Promotion and dissemination of energy”, a Network on women and sustainable energy. Through the field project: “Apoyo al Desarrollo del Sub-sector Dendroenergético de Honduras” several field documents describe and address gender issues concerned with the production, transportation, trade and use of fuelwood and charcoal for households and small cottage industries. Gender aspects are also highlighted through case studies prepared under the Forest Products Marketing Programme, which include Étude de cas du marché du bois-energie au Sénégal and Marketing of Indigenous Medicinal Plants in South Africa. In addition, a proposal has been initiated on harvesting of fuelwood in urban forests in Cameroon, also addressing gender issues.

27. FOR addresses the issue of women’s empowerment and the mainstreaming of gender concerns as essential elements of an inter-regional project in Bolivia, Burundi, Nepal, Pakistan and Tunisia. Special efforts are being made to target women in programmes relating to sustainable mountain development, desertification control, use of wildlife resources and trees outside forests; as the latter two yield products mainly collected and processed by women. Efforts are also directed at achieving gender targets amongst the Division’s professional staff.


28. GII has incorporated gender as a major focus in many of its activities and products over the past three years, particularly during 1998, when "Women Feed the World" was selected as the theme of World Food Day/TeleFood. In particular, GII has worked very closely with SDW, assisting with preparation of numerous publications, press materials, videos, and the gender website. All of these activites were designed to educate a much broader audience about gender aspects of development and FAO's work on gender-related issues. In addition, GII has worked with other technical departments to ensure that gender was addressed as an important element in their publications and other information materials. Some objectives foreseen by the Programme of Action, such as organising media seminars as a cost-effective means of spreading awareness on gender and development, did not materialize due to lack of funding.

29. GIL, in collaboration with SDW and GII, has developed a number of information products on gender and food security, including the creation and dissemination of an FAO corporate information system on gender and food security on CD-Rom and through the development of a website, as intended in its Programme of Action. World Food Day 1998 provided an excellent opportunity to publicise these information products and raise awareness of their availability. GIL acted as a catalyst for achieving synergy among all Divisional data holders. GIL has evaluated its progress through the users qualitative feedback on information products, as well as the cross-divisional co-operation experienced.


30. From a gender target perspective, LEG has made progress in improving the representation of women professionals in the Organisation. The major activity foreseen by its Programme of Action is to investigate and conduct a legislative study on women, the law and rural development. This study has not yet been undertaken due to lack of funding. LEG expects that such a study will be undertaken before the end of the reporting period for the Programme of Action.


31. TCA recognises that there is a real need to incorporate a gender perspective into policy analysis, but requires economists with specialisation in gender to participate both in the policy and the capacity building programme of TCA. Its policy recommendations in most countries include advice on safety nets and target programmes for the poorest and vulnerable groups of the population, which often include women. An analysis of the impact of policies on household decision-making requires studies at the micro-level to determine how households respond to meso-economic changes. However, the issue for TCA staff is that information on analytical work to capture decision making for intra-household income distribution is often not available to them, and even when such studies exist they are location- and culture-specific, thus making their generalization and integration in country-wide policy analyses difficult.

32. TCI - 100% of IFAD projects prepared by the Investment centre apply gender analysis and mainstream rural women. Yet, whether the target of 33% of projects that contained gender analysis was reached for projects prepared by TCI for other financing institutions was not as easily assessed. A gender database and monitoring system for rapid assessment of whether gender analysis was integrated into Investment Centre projects was set up as planned, but the coding system for this gender database did not work completely as expected. Plans are underway to revise the system. Other objectives in the plan have not been fully addressed due to time constraints of TCI rural development sociologists. This suggests that many gender mainstreaming activities in TCI are left to rural sociologists who find it difficult to reconcile normative work (such as gender monitoring, gender training and publications) with their heavy mission schedules.

33. TCO reported that most Telefood projects are enhancing the role of women in food production. In terms of reporting, more information is required as to whether the present database has defined additional indicators for reporting on women in development within the context of the Field Programme. Although the Division is currently using a SIDA publication to guide gender approaches in its operations, TCO intends to prepare its own guidelines on gender mainstreaming in the FAO emergency response cycle. TCO also requires gender sensitive guidelines for the formulation and implementation of the SPFS targeted at national co-ordinators and national staff involved in the SPFS and requested SDW in 1998 to assist in the preparation. To date, SDW has provided comments on the Guideline for the Constraint-Analysis Component of the SPFS (prepared by ESAF for the Special Programme) as far as gender-related constraints are concerned.


34. SDA has undertaken many initiatives in gender mainstreaming. It has commissioned ten national case studies in Africa that highlighted socio-cultural issues around women’s access to resources. A key lesson learned from this exercise was that sensitising men, as well as women, to equity problems in rural areas was essential, indicating SDA’s understanding and application of a gender based approach. The Division reported on objectives to support capacity building of rural development institutions and activities to enhance understanding of the dynamics of household income strategies. It has produced a considerable body of evidence indicating that income strategies within households are often differentiated by gender, which has a great impact on overall household livelihood security. SDA has also addressed the lack of gender sensitive training materials around group formation exercises by rural development institutions.

35. SDR has achieved the majority of the objectives foreseen in its Programme of Action. However, for some objectives it is difficult to examine the level to which they were attained, as they appeared very broad and no qualitative or quantitative indicators were given. The Communication for Development Group have made great strides in participatory approaches for communication by incorporating gender issues. Communication needs assessments were carried out with rural women and women’s groups. Indeed 40% of national trainers in the area of communication concepts, methods and application have been women and specific actions were taken to ensure the presence of women in training courses. The Division has built-in components for gender considerations in their methodologies and indicators for impact assessment of agricultural research institutions and research agendas, policy analysis, planning and technology assessment and transfer.

36. SDW - Many collaborating activities between SDW and other FAO Divisions are mentioned above. However, it is not clear from the reporting by other divisions, to which extent SDW’s role as a catalyst to achieve gender mainstreaming was effective. The Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) framework is SDW’s largest single activity in the PWB and a major instrument for gender mainstreaming. Under this programme, a series of specific sector guides are under development in collaboration with relevant units (including AGA, AGS, ESN and TCO). An important aspect of mainstreaming for SDW is maintaining the visibility of gender concerns within FAO. In this regard, the World Food Summit 1996 and World Food Day 1998 offered opportunities to highlight the important role women play in agricultural and rural development. As part of the worldwide information campaign on rural women, SDW initiated the recently launched corporate website on gender and food security (“http ://www.fao.org/gender”). The Division has provided technical papers, notes, commentaries, technical backstopping and training tools to enhance the capacity of regional country support teams and gender population and development advisors in gender mainstreaming. Within FAO headquarters, SDW’s efforts are aimed at incorporating a gender perspective in document reviews and briefings. In order to strengthen gender mainstreaming at the regional level, the management of RAF and SAFR, with support from SDW regional staff translated the objectives of their Divisional Programmes of Action into a Regional Programme of Action. “African Regional Priorities for the FAO Plan of Action for Women in Development” will be published shortly. Although RAP and RNE have initiated many gender mainstreaming activities, often there is a lack of funds to support regional initiatives. It should be noted that RAP has published interesting studies on gender related issues, such as “Gender Database for Pacific Islands” and “Community Radio for Rural Women”. In order to better co-ordinate linkages between normative and operational activities and to mobilise both financial and human resources a regional strategy to promote gender analysis activities is necessary.

Review of gender mainstreaming at the institutional level of FAO.


37. Most Divisions have developed their own qualitative and quantitative indicators to allow for monitoring and evaluation of gender mainstreaming, although, not all are systematically applying these indicators, to date. Monitoring of the field programme is in the process of being improved through the inclusion of indicators in the current field programme database, with the aim of revising the project coding system, as well as the project reporting formats to include gender issues. It should be noted that monitoring of information collected for many projects on a case-by-case basis, where specific gender concerns have been identified, takes place along with appropriate indicators. Furthermore, systematic consideration of gender is now required in all field project evaluations, and guidelines issued in 1998 require a section in all evaluation reports on ‘gender equality in project implementation and results’. It should be noted that FAO actively participates in the Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality’s (IACWGE) efforts in developing a methodological framework for monitoring and evaluating systems. SDW and PBE are considering the possibility of developing a corporate monitoring and evaluation system for the overall Plan of Action to unify and support the aforementioned efforts in this direction. The aim of such system would be to highlight conceptual issues and provide guidance to all concerned units, especially regarding targets and indicators for monitoring and evaluation. In this context, the current procedures for the project appraisal process would be reviewed to ensure specific consideration of gender issues1.


38. To date, the objectives outlined in the Divisional Programmes of Action have been met in varying degrees in part due to budgetary constraints. Extra-budgetary resources have played an important role in launching gender mainstreaming activities, however, it should be noted that the objective of the Plan of Action is to incorporate gender related activities into the Regular Programme, leaving extrabudgetary resources to play a supplementary role. For a number of Divisions many gender related activities were not included in their biennium plan. This indicates that the preparation of the Programme of Action was a separate activity from the normal biennium planning process. SDW plans to coordinate the formulation of future Programmes of Action with the institutional planning process in the context of FAO’s Strategic Framework.


39. The Director-General established an inter-departmental Committee on Women in Development (COWID) in 1996. Its terms of reference are to provide policy guidance and to facilitate co-ordination and decision-making on substantive and operational matters relating to Women in Development. The Committee monitors overall progress in implementing the FAO Plan of Action on Women in Development at Headquarters and in the field; reports and provides advice to the Director-General on organisation-wide WID/gender issues; provides a forum to review and clarify inter-departmental issues that arise relating to the implementation of the Plan of Action; and ensures agreement and operational coherence between all concerned regarding Organisation-wide actions for monitoring and implementing the Plan of Action. It follows that a number of the issues for internal follow-up emanating from this review, as listed in Table 2, fall under the mandate of COWID, whilst others demand follow-up action through internal management procedures. Following this review, it has emerged that there is also the need to review the Terms of Reference of the Committee, as well as its composition and functioning in order to strengthen overall management accountability. In particular, in view of the decentralisation process, COWID is to promote a stronger relationship between internal mechanisms at Headquarters and decentralised offices. For the purpose of facilitating co-ordination of the Programmes of Action within Divisions and Departments, it was envisaged that WID/gender focal points would be designated, supported by core groups on gender. At present gender focal points exist in many Divisions, while no core groups on gender are functioning at FAO Headquarters following the decentralisation of operational activities. As part of the internal procedures for gender mainstreaming at the field level, there is a WID/gender specialist outposted by SDW to each of the five regional offices of FAO. These WID officers collaborate extensively with the technical officers at regional and sub-regional levels from other divisions.


40. FAO made considerable efforts in the early 1990s to sensitise its professional staff to gender issues and concerns. In the future, AFP intends to develop a strategy on corporate training incorporating greater gender awareness, especially for middle and upper management levels. The aim is to promote an institutional culture that is gender-responsive and to ensure that staff policies, programme budgets and resource allocations reflect the commitment to achieve gender equality within the Organisation. To achieve this goal effectively, capacity building programmes organised within FAO require a more consolidated methodology for gender mainstreaming within specific technical areas. Given that Divisions and regional offices are now responsible for their own training budgets, a step in this direction would be the incorporation of gender analysis into planned training activities.


41. The proportion of women in the professional staff population increased from 18% in 1994 to 20% in 1999. There has been progress in the overall gender balance in FAO, despite the decline in total staff population due to the reduction in the FAO staffing budget. It should be noted that the increases in the number of women in senior management have been six-fold. In order to reach the UN target of 50% female professional staff within the UN system over the next two years, FAO would need to increase by 78% the number of female professional staff. AFP has now adopted a new initiative whereby all Divisions have reviewed their staffing situation for 1999 and have established gender targets for professional posts for this year. FAO has put in place flexible working arrangements for staff who wish to work at 50% of the time for both professional and support staff and at 80% of the time for support staff only, and is currently examining various practices and provisions, which would help make FAO a more gender-sensitive, family supportive organisation.


42. The Programme Committee is invited to review the Progress Report and provide such guidance as it thinks fit. The report is essentially the result of an internal exercise aimed at providing a mid-term review of progress to date with a view to taking whatever corrective action may be necessary to ensure the successful implementation of the Plan of Action. The Secretariat is accordingly in the process of reviewing and acting upon the detailed suggestions made (see Table 2) and issues raised.

Table 1: Divisional reporting on reaching objectives, monitoring and the existence Gender Focal Points in the FAO Plan of Action for Women in Development 1996-2001

Division Whether Division compared their existing activities with the objectives in their POA2 Whether qualitative and quantitative indicators were reported Existence of Gender Focal Points
AGA yes No Yes
AGL Yes (2 out of 4 objectives) No Yes
AGP Focused on selected activities rather than the 3 Objectives in their POA No for AGPP or AGPC. AGPS provided quantitative data Yes
AGS Yes No Yes
ESA Yes No  
ESC Yes No Yes
ESN No No Yes
ESS Yes Yes – in use  
FID No Quantitative indicators related to fisheries employment statistics by gender Yes
FIP No No  
FIR No Quantitative indicators on gender targets  
FII No Yes  
FON Yes for community forestry not FONS Yes for Community Forestry Unit Yes
FOP Yes No  
FOR No No FORM reported on gender targets  
GII Yes No Yes
GIL Yes Yes in relation to response for information products  
LEG Yes Yes on gender targets Yes
TCA Yes No Yes
TCI Yes Yes Yes
TCO Yes Yes for TeleFood projects  
SDA Some Yes for quantitative indicators
No for qualitative indicators
SDR Some Communications for Development group have quantitative indicators Yes
SDW Yes Yes N/A
AFP Yes Yes quantitative indicators on gender targets Yes


43. TABLE 2: Issues emerging from this report for follow-up through internal mechanisms Origin
The issue of gender targets should be kept separate from the broader question of gender mainstreaming within the overall work programme of FAO. SDW
Given that development activities involve both women and men, it is essential that their needs are addressed on an equal footing in order to overcome the gender gap that sees women in a disadvantaged position vis á vis men. In this context, Divisions should ensure the collection and dissemination of gender disaggregated statistics. SDW

Divisions who are able to revise their current Programmes of Action to meet more realistic objectives should be encouraged to do so.

In order to achieve sustainable gender mainstreaming throughout FAO it is necessary to include gender mainstreaming activities in the Regular Programme activities. Divisions should prepare the next Programmes of Action as part of the institutional planning process. FO, SDW
A gender dimension should be explicitly considered during the project appraisal process in order to ensure that gender concerns are reflected in the project activities. In this context, the Gender Assessment Code developed, in 1991, to permit effective monitoring and appraisal of programme activities in the pipeline and implementation, should be reviewed in light of its potential. FO, SDW, TC
Gender sensitive guidelines for specific topics, sectors, or sub-sectors should continue to be developed under the direct auspices and support of senior staff within each Technical Unit. AGA, FO, SDW, TC
Prominent advocates for the inclusion of gender issues in macro economic policies should be invited to talk at FAO to explain linkages between gender and economics. TC
There is a need to develop a comprehensive corporate monitoring and evaluation system for the overall Plan of Action. At the corporate level, performance targets need to be established, so that regular programme and field programme activities can be periodically reviewed with respect to gender mainstreaming. PBE, SDW
Recognising that there are certain types of activities or project inputs that facilitate gender mainstreaming (e.g. gender sensitive surveys, presence of experts, etc.), the utility of tracking and reporting these and related expenditures to Governing Bodies should be considered. PBE, SDW
The issue of the decentralisation process and its impact on the work of gender mainstreaming will need to be thoroughly analysed and reflected in future planning exercises. SDW
Gender analysis should be incorporated in corporate gender training programmes, and in this context, particular efforts need to be made at the field level. AFP, SDW, TC
The special measures to support the achievement of the gender targets of professional women by the year 2000 within the UN system should continue to be implemented. At the same time, renewed measures need also to be taken to ensure that women are active participants in opportunities offered by FAO in specific technical areas. AFP, SDW
Provisions should be made for future Programmes of Action to address the issues emanating from this review. SDW

1 It should be noted that, in 1993, a tool developed to measure FAO’s progress in the integration of women’s concerns, as well as monitoring and evaluating activities in the project cycle, called the Gender Assessment Code (GAC), was presented to the 27th Session of the Conference (C93/14). The working group appointed to examine the possibilities for implementation of the GAC concluded that although ‘technically appropriate’ it would be ‘excessively costly to implement as originally intended’, or more precisely, ‘with resulting costs that would be difficult to estimate’. To date, the need for such a tool is recognised and given the technical validity of the GAC, a cost-effective version of the tool is increasingly desirable.

2 POA = Programme of Action