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Gender Mainstreaming – Gender Awareness Raising

European Institute for Gender Equality
This tool outlines the requirements for gender mainstreaming initiatives to be effective in increasing general sensitivity and awareness of gender (in)equality). Gender awareness aims at increasing general sensitivity, understanding, and knowledge about gender (in)equality. Awareness raising helps to facilitate the exchange of ideas, improve mutual understanding, and develop the competencies and skills necessary for societal change. This process goes hand in hand with gender equality training in order to transmit the necessary information and knowledge to take action.

For gender awareness raising to be effective, the following aspects have to be considered:

  • Target group: Consider the socio-demographic characteristics, level of education, industry, and any other relevant characteristics.
  • Content of the message: Design the message and the content of the activities according to the specific reality of the organization and its gender equality objectives.
  • Gender awareness-raising measures: Select the activities depending on the context and goals of the company’s gender equality strategy. A combination of the following activities can reinforce the message:
    • Communication initiatives to spread the message widely
    • Public events to address a specific target group
    • Social media and social networks to promote interaction
    • Static exhibitions and displays of relevant topics
    • Printed materials (e.g. brochures, pamphlets, posters, audio-visual resources)
  • Gender-sensitive language: Language plays an important role in how women’s and men’s positions in society are perceived and interpreted. Using gender-sensitive language can reduce sexist and biased thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours through:
    • Avoiding exclusionary terms and nouns that appear to refer only to men (e.g. mankind, businessman)
    • Avoiding gender-specific pronouns that refer to people who may be either female or male (use “he/she”, “him/her”, or “they/them”)
    • Avoiding stereotypes, gendered adjectives, patronizing, sexist terms and expressions (e.g. referring to women as “bossy”), and references to women’s marital status and titles

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