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The OECD has launched an initiative for International Women’s Day to help governments, parliaments and judiciaries to design gender-sensitive public policies and services and accelerate their efforts to enable equal access for women in public decision making.  Building on the 2015 OECD Recommendation on Gender Equality in Public Life and

aimed at speeding up progress on gender equality goals, the OECD Toolkit for Mainstreaming & Implementing Gender Equality identifies proven measures to increase women’s participation across the board and outlines pitfalls to avoid in institutionalising gender equality. It will help create systemic change across state institutions and decision processes, which is necessary to lead culture change across society to finally address the entrenched gender roles and behaviours that prevent true gender equality. The toolkit includes many country examples of good practices to illustrate the most effective policies and practices.

“This Toolkit aims to help and inspire policy makers in government and state institutions to implement new and innovative ways to promote gender equality. It will also get them to consider every aspect of policy through a gender lens,” said Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff, G20 Sherpa and leader of OECD work on gender equality, launching the Toolkit in Paris. “As well as providing a manual for how to get more women into leadership, the Toolkit illustrates how formal and informal practices and procedures in state institutions can reinforce inequalities and gender-based stereotypes.”

Most OECD countries now have some form of gender quota in politics, ranging from voluntary political party quotas, legislated quotas in parliament, quotas in electoral law or gender quotas written into constitutions. Nevertheless women still hold less than a third of seats, on average, in lower houses of national legislatures in the OECD and less than a third of ministerial positions. The share of women in senior management in central government and serving as Supreme Court judges is 32%. The use of measures to enhance the hiring and promotion of women is low in the civil service, and only a few countries have affirmative action in the judiciary to ensure gender balance.

The Toolkit looks at how gender goals need to be incorporated into hiring, career development and budget cycles. It promotes a comprehensive and coordinated approach for across the executive, courts and parliaments and examines gender pay gaps, occupational segregation, complaint and appeal mechanisms and leadership accountability, and it includes priority checklists and self-assessment questions for institutions to monitor their performance.