YDA GENDER POLICY
Organisation-wide strategies to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment
It has taken some time to understand that the underlying causes of poverty can be found in the very unjust distribution of power and resources. And that gender inequity is a key part of this. On a day-to-day basis, the community leaders we work with, the staff of partner organisations we work with, and the government officials we interact with, are often not just men but also believers in patriarchy.
Within the organisation as well, resistance and discrimination are encountered at different levels and manifest themselves in various subtle as well as open ways. Although overcoming gender injustice cannot simply be reduced to recruiting women to leadership positions, organisational change does depend on developing a critical mass of support.
It is true that a huge amount of our work is with women and girls. We also have many examples of our work that have strengthened the position of women, both in our directly-operational and our partnership programmes. Our staff are committed to addressing this issue in every area – at the community level, our policy advocacy work, fundraising, human resource management, finance, among others.
Fighting poverty together has challenged many of the previous assumptions and put the struggle for women’s rights at the heart of our new approach. This policy statement is deliberately light in detail but clear in our resolve. It is for each one of us who make up YDA to show to ourselves and the world outside, particularly the women and girls who wage their daily battle against discrimination and injustice, that we mean every word we say. It is for people in leadership positions to demonstrate their commitment in practice – to give their own time and allocate adequate resources. This means big changes in both our behaviour and actions at all levels. It also means intolerance of any forms of behaviour that run counter to this policy statement.
Youth Development Association (YDA) Gender Policy (GP)
YDA recognises that gender relations and inequalities are fundamental causes of poverty. Women and girls do not enjoy the same status, power or access to and control over resources as men and boys. This situation is unacceptable. Principles of equity and social justice require us to work to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity for expressing and using their potential, irrespective of sex, age, race, colour, class, caste, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, HIV status or disability. YDA is fully committed to channelling energy, effort and resources into processes that create a society that values women, men, girls and boys equally.
YDA has increasingly worked with a gender perspective over the years. This experience has led us to acknowledge that women’s empowerment and the recognition of women’s rights as human rights are essential for sustainable development and can be empowering for everyone. It has also taught us that working with a gender perspective means involving and engaging men and boys in order to improve the status of women and girls. These lessons – along with the need for improved learning and monitoring around gender issues and clear accountability mechanisms – have guided the development of our gender policy.
The new strategy (2014 – 2017) provides an institutional framework for placing women’s rights and empowerment at the centre of all our work. The following sections are not discrete segments and should be taken as a whole. The policy seeks to ensure greater consistency of gender principles, policies and practices across the organisation and to provide an accountability framework in relation to gender, against which all staff can be accountable and against which YDA will audit itself.
PRINCIPLE AND GOALS
“A rights-based approach demands that we take the analysis of discrimination, poverty and marginalisation beyond communities and households to individual women, men, boys and girls as well as to the most vulnerable and marginalised groups."
The achievement of gender equality requires that:
- Gender equality and equity are central to YDA’s being and doing;
- The empowerment of women and girls is recognised as fundamental to our mission;
- Every individual understands and demonstrates attitudes and behaviours that promote gender equality and equity;
- Adequate resources are allocated to gender work;
- All work is continuously monitored against gender indicators;
- Cross – cutting nature of gender concerns is recognised (gender equality is both everyone’s responsibility and an area that warrants specialised attention and resources).
The gender policy aims to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment are central to YDA’s:
Programmes at all levels:
- All programmes empower women and promote women’s rights as human rights.
- Apply gender analysis at all stages of policy and programme work, including planning, implementation, impact assessment and development of measurable gender indicators.
- Develop capacity of programme staff to carry out gender analysis.
- Ensure programme staff take responsibility for promoting gender equality.
- Monitor and evaluate programmes for gender goals, and develop and employ good practice guidelines and indicators.
- Promote the creation of structures and opportunities for women’s participation in decision-making at all levels.
- Ensure that women's and girls’ voices are heard in mainstream development processes.
- Undertake capacity building (e.g. resource allocation, training, information, networking) to strengthen women’s organisations and groups, and organisations working towards gender equality.
- Include a gender equality perspective in all campaign and influencing work.
- Support women and girls to secure their economic, social, political, civil and cultural rights.
- Promote women’s and girls’ independent access to and control over land, employment, services and institutions, including their ability to exercise rights over their own bodies and find protection against violence.
- Develop, promote and use creative ways of engaging men and boys (and not only women) to promote gender equality.
Organisational culture and behaviours.
- Gender equality and equity are central to YDA’s being and doing.
- Ensure that specialised gender functions are in place and adequately resourced.
Recognise knowledge related to gender concerns and gender-related analysis as one of the
core areas of capacity for staff and build capabilities throughout the organisation.
- Build a common understanding around gender through training.
- Ensure that all training across the agency is gender-sensitive.
- Make all policies gender-sensitive and responsive, and integrate gender indicators into staff
objectives, accountabilities and monitoring systems.
- Prioritise gender sensitivity in all terms of reference, including TORs for external consultants.
- Use information technology to facilitate home working, flexible working hours and virtual
working to strike a balance between home responsibilities and work.
- Ensure that staff access to and use of information technology is gender equitable.
- The external presentation of YDA should promote a balanced view of the issues surrounding
gender equality and equity.
- Gender analysis will be central to the development of all marketing, fundraising, sponsorship
and campaigns work and gender concerns will be incorporated into activities wherever
- Design fundraising proposals and appeals to fulfil YDA’s strategic goals and objectives on
gender equality and equity.
- Inform donors about YDA’s gender goals and objectives and give positive examples of YDA’s
- Recruit new supporters who are gender sensitive.
- All materials and communications reflect YDA’s goals and objectives on gender equality and
equity, challenging gender stereotypes and recognising diversity.
- Gender-sensitive language and images will be used in all internal and external
- Whenever possible, women’s and girls’ voices will be heard in the first person.
- Ensure that women and men are proportionately represented during press briefings and other
public relations activities.
FINANCE AND RESOURCE ALLOCATION
Adequate resources are allocated to gender work across the organisation.
- Commit a high level of support and resources to gender work and functions.
- Include a gender dimension in all finance guidelines, instructions and policies.
- Develop and refine tools and methods for assessing and reporting on gender-related investments at every level of the organisation.
- Maintain and update annually qualitative and quantitative information on gender related expenditure.
IMPLEMENTATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY
This section outlines the framework for the implementation of the gender policy. It provides guidelines on the responsibility of different parts of the organisation for the achievement of gender equality.
- Senior managers will be accountable for the implementation of the policy and report to the Board of Directors about its implementation.
- YDA staff will demonstrate the political will to implement the required attitudinal changes implied
by the policy.
- YDA staff is responsible for implementation details for the programmes.
- All staff will be expected to show a gender perspective in their work.
- The organisational mechanisms and gender posts necessary for implementation of the gender policy will be put in place and resourced.