Yesterday I had the honor of attending a public discussion of social and environmental policies of European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. To my surprise I only found gender in two places of the 72-page-long document . When I inquired why the document does not cover gender, a representative of EBRD responded that EBRD does not have the expertise to provide gender perspective within the document. I realized that one of the issues that exist still even for large institutions is that there is a problem with lack of expertise in gender mainstreaming and few people even among professional consultants look at gender as a factor of utmost importance in their assessments and recommendations.
From theory and practice that I have been exposed to, it is very clear that any intervention or project or program or legislation or action affects men and women differently, just like it affects different ethnic groups differently, people with special needs differently. Yet as gender is usually the most rigid categories the differences are vast, yet it is usually assumed that they are not there. Market-oriented firms do assess their market through a gender lense, why don’t other institutions?