Mainstreaming Gender Inclusivity with Solidaridad's Gender Inclusivity Buckets Book

15 May 2020

At Solidaridad, we believe that gender inclusivity is key to sustainable development and we work on fostering value chains and sectors where women and men can equally participate and benefit from their contributions. With that in mind, we have developed a special handbook around the key inclusivity themes Solidaridad works on, the Solidaridad Gender Inclusivity Buckets Book, which is meant to inspire and inform on how to work on gender mainstreaming in projects worldwide.

It is undeniable that due to the way our societies and economies are currently structured, large numbers of people are unable to fully contribute to them, or equally benefit from them. These inequalities generally affect women to a far greater extent than men. Given the vast scope of the gender inclusivity agenda and its cross-cutting nature, it is important to keep focus. Therefore, Solidaridad has identified 11 themes that emerged as important across the commodities we work in, called ‘the gender buckets’. We believe that working on these themes will contribute to greater inclusivity and lead to more impact on the SDGs, specifically SDG5: Gender Equality. 

Gender Inclusivity at Solidaridad: the five levels we work on, from producer to market level

The Buckets book includes concrete project examples from Solidaridad’s work in various regions, and tips and tools to support gender mainstreaming. The 11 themes can be seen as stand-alone themes, but definitely also form an integrated whole as they affect and influence each other.

The producer and infrastructure level from Solidaridad’s strategy

Producer and infrastructure level

Six of the 11 gender inclusivity buckets can be found at the producer and infrastructure level (see the visual above), where Solidaridad works with farmers, workers, miners, entrepreneurs, employers and service-providers. These buckets share the focus on taking away structural barriers that hinder women’s participation and contribution in the different value chains. It is instrumental that both men and women have equal access to knowledge and skills, therefore training is a key strategy of Solidaridad’s interventions. 

Effective project implementation also requires taking into consideration the differences between men and women, for example, in their knowledge, skills and ambitions when providing training (Bucket Knowledge and Skills). It is also important to take into account the different time schedules of men and women, especially considering the time poverty many women are facing due to their productive and reproductive work burden (Bucket Time Savers).

Furthermore, tailored interventions need to be developed to ensure women’s access to services such as finance (Bucket Financial Service), technology (Bucket Technology) and inputs (Bucket Land and Input). Specific attention to health and nutrition (Bucket Health and Nutrition) is also of major importance. Although women play a crucial role in food security and nutrition, they face gender-based challenges in (occupational) health and services. One of the reasons is that women are still disproportionately represented in informal sectors and sectors with the least social protection, leaving them at greater risks. 

The landscape and country level from Solidaridad’s strategy

Landscape and country level

Our landscape and country level buckets are closely related to each other. The landscape level bucket is focused on empowering women and men through inclusive community dialogues based on shared interests and values. It is important to facilitate diverse representation and leadership in platforms and networks throughout the world, and to support the development of gender inclusive land use plans and frameworks (Bucket Leadership and Representation). On country level we advocate that governments adhere to equality principles and apply a gender inclusivity lens in their policies (Bucket Legislation, Policies and Sustainable Frameworks).

The 11 buckets are all influenced by culture and norms; the impact can vary depending on the context. Norms, beliefs and values influence not only our conscious, but also our subconscious, thoughts and actions. Therefore, it is important to not only take into consideration gender norms in any intervention designed, but also to address gender stereotypes that limit women’s opportunities (Bucket Culture and Norms). 

Solidaridad has worked actively to raise awareness about the important role of the Peruvian Pallaqueras (female miners) in the gold supply chain, and to improve their socio-economic position

The market level from Solidaridad’s strategy

Market level

Also on the market level specific attention for the barriers women face is needed. A healthy and safe working environment and inclusive business practices are of major importance for achieving sustainable and inclusive value chains. Unfortunately, around the world we can still find many non-inclusive business practices, from women being overrepresented in informal jobs and underrepresented in higher management and leadership positions, to women having less access to social protection measures (such as pension, unemployment benefits, or maternity protection). Working conditions for women on the workfloor can be improved through ensuring inclusive business practices (Bucket Business Practices). 

In addition, international trade has not yet been beneficial to all. Markets have proved to be unsuccessful in fair distribution of the gains from international trade, often leaving women behind. Currently, many women worldwide stand on the sidelines of the economy. It is important to engage actors across the value chain in order to create more inclusive markets. An enabling and inclusive market environment can be established by working not only with producers, but also with suppliers, service providers, financial institutes, processors, governments, and other stakeholders (Bucket Market Engagement and Entrepreneurship). 

Mekiya repairs sewing machines in one of the textile factories in Ethiopia involved in the Better Mill Initiative programme, and represents the interests of the factory workers towards the management 

You can find out more about the Las Rosas project in the video below.

The way towards inclusive sustainable value chains

Gender inclusivity is a cross-cutting theme. Designing and applying gender inclusivity interventions will not reach the desired impact if they are isolated or implemented as stand-alone interventions, as they cut across the various levels of such interventions. The 11 themes presented here are crucial for Solidaridad’s scope of work, but this list of themes (this also applies to the tips and tools) is not exhaustive. Depending on the focus and scope of a gender analysis undertaken, various gender issues can be identified as crucial in different contexts.

The aim of the Gender Inclusivity Buckets Book is to serve as an inspirational and guiding manual for gender mainstreaming in project development and implementation. After all, working on fostering gender inclusivity requires an ever dynamic, flexible approach that takes a variety of factors into consideration depending on the context.

Solidaridad’s gender inclusivity strategy

The Gender Inclusivity Buckets form part of the broader gender inclusivity approach of Solidaridad, which consists of three complementary elements: The Gender Business Case (the why) can be seen as the reason why we work on gender inclusivity. The Gender ABC (the how) functions as a translation from the Gender Business Case towards practice. The Gender Inclusivity Buckets (the what) are the key themes we have selected to work on within the scope of Solidaridad’s programmes worldwide.

You can read more about Solidaridad’s Gender Business Case and Gender ABC in our gender inclusivity portfolio publication.

Read more about Solidaridad’s work in advocating for women occupying more leadership positions in South America.

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