Researchers like Kanter, Beattie and Abella discovered the unequal distribution of power in the organization and general trend of restricting women at lower level in an organization. In the field of public organization, issue of gender is very much important since it is in play at every level.
Sex is basically a biological category whereas gender is purely a socio-cultural one. But, being man or a woman is different in various cultures. Therefore, the word gender refers to socially-defined differences. People define certain behaviours and qualities as being masculine or feminine. What is a woman’s work in one country or community might be a man’s in another.
The conceptions of gender-linked roles are learned through socialization in a family. In the 21st century, women have gotten many rights which erstwhile were denied to them. However, inequality still prevails which creates social, cultural and intellectual barriers that frustrate a nation’s efforts to prosperity. Still men’s domination in certain areas of life like business, public administration, and politics is ubiquitous and women still face a struggle to survive. Therefore, understanding and analyzing gender mindsets, which have been socially constructed since childhood, is more than indispensable.
Sustainable and equitable development is possible only when gender perspective is integrated to address socioeconomic development challenges. There is also a need to apply gender lens while making policies. In policy formulation process, women are ignored though their role as a change agent in an economy is important.
It’s a known fact that our rural women largely remain deprived of the opportunities to change their lives despite their unrelenting efforts. This imbalance starts from our inability to invest in education. Inappropriate school environment for girls, safety concerns, flawed teaching methods that favour boys and also varying levels of access to technical and vocational education speak volumes about it. The solution to this problem lies in investing more in education with a gender perspective and promoting gender-relevant pedagogical techniques.
The process of gender mainstreaming involves equal access and control over resources, development benefits and decision making at all levels. At the same time, considerations must also be given while formulating policies and chalking out programmes. It should foster a gender equality where men and women have equal opportunities as well as rights.
For this, ensuring that women’s participation from mere passive beneficiaries to active agents at all levels of activities, and creating an environment where both women and men could work with mutual respect and as partners, is necessary. In this pursuit, the government has taken initiatives like reserving seats for women in Senate, National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies and in local bodies, fixing 10% quota for women in civil service/federal government organizations and the promulgation of Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010, etc. Due to these efforts, the ratio of employment opportunities for women in the last few years has increased and the number of women employees of the federal government has risen from 18,130 to 21,133.
The steps for gender mainstreaming are: understanding gender issues by policymakers, identifying main development problems, efforts towards achieving gender equality, policy intervention in achievement of goals and research on gender-based issues.