1.2 Existing handbooks on gender mainstreaming in digital policies

Existing handbooks on gender mainstreaming do not specifically target policy-makers involved in the formulation of digital policies (with very few exceptions). Some handbooks focus on mainstreaming gender in government agencies, others provide guidance on gender mainstreaming in public policy in general, and some are country or region specific.

The few existing guidance, at the global level, for policy-makers involved in the formulation of digital policies include tools developed by ITU, UN Women, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Government of Canada.

The ITU Action Plan to close the digital gap6 sets out the framework for critical actions to foster and accelerate inclusive and sustainable development by closing the digital gender gap and harness the transformative potential of ICTs for women’s empowerment. The Action Plan provides high level guidance for policy-makers.
The publication by United Nations (UN) Women “The digital revolution: Implications for gender equality and women’s rights 25 years after Beijing”7 concludes with a set of high-level policy recommendations for governments and policy-makers for leveraging digital technology to advance gender equality. These recommendations focus on new technologies, gender data, education and training, and human resources and labour market policies.
EIGE offers resources and practical examples for mainstreaming gender into the Digital Agenda, organised according to four main phases of the policy cycle: define, plan, act check.8 EIGE provides a pool of good practices on gender mainstreaming, among which there is a category on “work-life balance in ICT”.
The USAID booklet on “Closing the Gender Digital Divide”9 identifies five strategies to close the gender digital divide and increase women’s economic empowerment: Change Social Norms and Cultural Perceptions; Create economic opportunities; Cultivate women’s confidence; Design Creative Women-Centric Technology; and Develop Community Support.
The USAID report on “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Digital Economy – White Paper”10 offer action lines for the empowering women in the digital economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) context, with a focus on development on women-owned micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), access to finance, and retraining and reskilling women workers.
The Government of Canada’s “Playbook for Gender Equality in the Digital Age”11 identifies best practices to support gender equality in digital contexts. It is intended for governments, legislators, policy-makers, advocates, academics, human rights defenders, and anyone thinking about the impact of technological development on gender equality.

Other handbooks typically provide guidance to mainstream gender in public policy in general, not on digital policies or on policies related to the digital economy, specifically.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Handbook on the OECD-DAC Gender Equality Policy Marker is a tool available to OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members to track bilateral aid in support of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitments on gender equality. The total amount of projects and/or programmes marked 1 and 2 by DAC donors are counted as gender equality focused aid. The tool focuses only on aid in support of gender equality.12
The OECD Toolkit for Mainstreaming and Implementing Gender Equality focuses on strengthening governance and accountability for gender equality to improving the gender-responsiveness of public policy. The toolkit focuses on policy in general, not on digital policies.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women Handbook on gender-responsive law-making13 is a resource for lawmakers from around the world for designing gender-responsive laws. It focuses on the role of parliamentarians in law making but does not target policy markers -and specifically those that are involved in the design of digital policies, strategies and programmes.
The UN Women Gender mainstreaming: A global strategy for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls publication defines gender mainstreaming is the inter-governmentally agreed, global strategy for achieving the goal of gender equality. At a programmatic level, gender mainstreaming may be applied throughout the programme cycle following a sequence of steps: 1. Gender Analysis, 2. Programme Design, 3. Resource Allocation, 4. Implementation and 5. Monitoring and Evaluation. The publication does not specifically focus on digital policies.14

Some tools are country or region specific.

The document on Gender mainstreaming in government agencies in Sweden15 aims to strengthen and develop gender mainstreaming in government agencies from Sweden such that their work helps to attain the objectives of gender equality policy. Its focus is on Swedish cultural agencies, not on agencies or ministries relevant for digital policies.
The Government of Catalonia’s Guide to gender mainstreaming in participatory processes16 provides citizen participation technicians with resources that will enable them to design equitable process. It includes references to participation in digital spaces, but the digital sector is not its main focus.
The Philippines Commission on Women Handbook on the Application of the Enhanced Gender Mainstreaming Evaluation Framework17 provides guidance to measure the extent of gender mainstreaming efforts of organizations, both national government agencies and local government units.

Other tools are sector specific.

The publication by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Gender and ICTs: Mainstreaming gender in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for agriculture and rural development18 focuses on the benefits of ICTs when placed in the hands of men and women working in agriculture and in rural areas. It examines the challenges to be overcome and makes recommendations so that rural communities can take full and equal advantage of the technologies.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Guide on Gender Mainstreaming Business, Investment and Technology Services for Private Sector Development19 provides guidance on mainstreaming gender into its business, investment and technology interventions to strengthen private sector development. The guide focuses on the cycle of private sector development projects; it has a section women and technology which includes a recommendation on identifying and promoting good practices and lessons learned on the ways women and girls are using technology.