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Gender Mainstreaming

'Gender Mainstreaming' is not a phrase that immediately generates an understanding of its meaning in the mind, probably because its origin is quite technical. The term originated in United Nations policy language and the process it implies became universal UN policy in 1997 when the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC) agreed that 'Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective into all Policies and Programmes of the United Nations System' be performed. The Council defines gender mainstreaming as:

'Integration of gender concerns into the analyses, formulation and monitoring of policies, programmes and projects, with the objective of ensuring that these reduce inequalities' ECOSOC 12 June 1997, E/1997/66

In medicine, gender mainstreaming means that gender concerns be integrated into medical research, education and clinical practice with the objective of reducing inequity. Expressed more simply, the goal of mainstreaming is:

"to identify where gender difference exists and provide balance when needed"

Mainstreaming a gender perspective into medicine is a process, not a single concept. It begins with a gender analysis to demonstrate where gender-blindness has resulted in adverse outcomes. Introducing gender competence to identified information, processes, teaching styles and practice environments results in more equitable outcomes.

Some of the areas where mainstreaming a gender perspective into medicine can help to provide balance are:

These are just a few of the examples we could choose from, if you think there are others that are important to acknowledge send them to annmaree.nobelius@monash.edu

Content by Ann-Maree Nobelius, 23 June 2004