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Predicting the impact of policy-gender-auditing as a means of asses sing the probable impact of policy initiatives on women


The objective of this proposal is to develop a concept of gender auditing that will form an integral part of the policy and law-making processes of the European Union and its Member States. Gender auditing is designed to measure the likely impact and effect on women of new policies and proposed legislation. In this manner the likely success of measures designed to eliminate social exclusion arising from gender can be assessed. In addition, however, other policies which are apparently gender-neutral can also be the subject of a gender audit since it is often these very policies which work to women's disadvantage and undo some or all of the good which social integration policies based on gender may have done. The notion of assessing at a preliminary stage the likely social impact of proposed actions is not a novel one since a type of impact audit is already used at Community level in respect of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and development projects (environmental impact assessment).

PIP is a research network comprised of institutions from five member states where expertise exists in undertaking research into law and gender. The project will capitalise upon this expertise into order to develop a database of mechanisms currently used to address women's concerns and experiences in the law and policy-making frameworks of particular states.
Existing gender impact assessment mechanisms will be identified and factors will be isolated which have led to their success, or lack of it. Part of the process of evaluating the success or failure of particular mechanisms will be the use of case studies. Case studies will enable the research team to pinpoint why gender impact assessment mechanisms which in theory look very suited to their task, fail. The possible reasons for failure might be related to the structure of the gender impact assessment mechanism. It may, for example, simply be an advisory body whose opinion carries little or no weight or it may not possess the data to allow it to comment meaningfully on whether a particular measure may be damaging to women. Alternatively a mechanism may work well but other considerations such as politics or finance may mean that law or policy-makers are prepared to ignore its recommendations or modify them dramatically.

Once mechanisms have been identified and their effectiveness assessed, the project will single out criteria for the development of a model of policy/law-making in which the likely impact of Community/national policies on men and women is an integral part - a gender audit. In this manner the Community and Member States will gain from knowing the likely impact of their actions on women and can plan accordingly. In their turn women will move closer to achieving substantive as opposed to formal equality.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


University of Liverpool
.,Abercromby Square
L69 3BX Liverpool
United Kingdom

Participants (4)

Lund University
222 21 Lund
National University of Ireland, Cork
Aras Na Laoi
30 Cork
Campus De Somosaguas
28223 Madrid
Universidade Fernando Pessoa
349,Praça 9 De Abril
4200 Porto