Benchmarking for better gender mainstreaming

Benchmarking is a method of quality improvement through systematic comparisons and mutual learning. This model of benchmarking is used to improve gender equality efforts in municipalities.

Gender mainstreaming means the inclusion of a gender equality perspective in the planning, decisions, implementation and follow-up of an activity.

Working with gender mainstreaming is working with quality improvement. Succeeding with sustainable quality improvement requires both persistence and an orderly way of working.

Benchmarking is based on the idea of carefully comparing one’s own working methods and processes with those of a different organization in an effort to find potential improvements. The lessons learned are used in each of the organizations by implementing, disseminating and following up on the quality improvements at home.

Learning through sharing

The Modellkommuner (model municipalities) project applies this method to develop and improve gender equality efforts in municipalities and regions. There are two roles involved here, that of the mentor, and that of the benchmarking organization.

The mentors have broad-based experience of gender mainstreaming and can explain examples and best practices that other organizations can learn from. The mentors also learn more through sharing their knowledge.

Working in clusters

Benchmarking organizations may have experience of gender mainstreaming, but may need more knowledge and a more systematic way of working in order to mainstream gender equality in their regular management systems.

Benchmarking is implemented in clusters, with a mentor and two benchmarking organizations that meet several times over the course of one year. Between meetings, they conduct their own quality improvement programmes at home. The process is commenced and concluded by joint meetings of several clusters of mentors and benchmarking organizations.

A model for benchmarking gender mainstreaming

This model consists of eight steps that describe the planning and implementation of five meetings, as well as work at home between those meetings. The Swedish version also contains checklists, templates and other material as support for these efforts. The model that will be presented here is meant solely to give you an overview of the process.

The starting point for these efforts is the checklist for gender mainstreaming that SALAR has produced.


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