Table of Contents

  • In 1996, Commonwealth Ministers Responsible for Women's Affairs mandated the Commonwealth Secretariat to develop the concept of the Gender Management System (GMS), a comprehensive network of structures, mechanisms and processes for bringing a gender perspective to bear in the mainstream of all government policies, programmes and projects. The success of the GMS depends upon a broad-based partnership in society in which government consults and acts co-operatively with the other key stakeholders, who include civil society and the private sector. The establishment and strengthening of gender management systems and of national women's machineries was the first of 15 government action points identified in the 1995 Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender and Development.

  • Despite major efforts and some progress over the last two decades, women continue to be disadvantaged in comparison with men in many aspects of life, in most countries. The UNDP's Human Development Report, which records progress in human development according to indicators of health, education and income, has since 1995 included a Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), which reveals that while in some countries women are well represented among professional and technical staff, there are fewer women than men working as parliamentarians, administrators and managers in all Commonwealth countries for which figures are available. And in terms of earned income share, the picture in most areas is of significant bias in favour of men.

  • Despite major efforts and some progress over the last couple of decades, women continue to be disadvantaged in comparison with men in many aspects of life, in most countries. The UNDP's Human Development Report records progress in human development according to the indicators of life expectancy, literacy, combined school enrolment and income (defined as Gross Domestic Product per capita). Since 1995 the Human Development Index (HDI) has included two gender-related indexes: the Gender-Related Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM).

  • Gender equality and equity are being advanced by the Gender Management System in the context of global and Commonwealth mandates, and of shifts in the theoretical understanding of how gender disparities in societies can best be addressed.

  • The Commonwealth has developed the Gender Management System (GMS) as a means of mainstreaming gender throughout national governments. The GMS is defined as a set of structures, mechanisms and processes to ensure that gender considerations are integrated into all government policies, programmes and activities. The establishment and running of a GMS takes place within a particular political, economic, social and cultural context – the enabling environment of the GMS.

  • The first stage in the process of mainstreaming in public service personnel management involves a gender-based analysis of the existing situation. Timely and reliable statistics are the foundation of sound gender analysis. Without adequate, reliable and valid statistical descriptions, inequities can be perpetuated.