KIC Sweden

Gender Equality Policy

This policy provides guidelines for KIC’s vision and work with gender equality. The policy is based on KIC’s core values as well as the State Department’s policy on gender equality and women’s rights of the Swedish International Development Cooperation 2010-2015.

A central feature of KIC’s core values ​​is the idea of ​​equality, which stipulates all individuals’ equal and unique value, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability or age. Within the overall idea of ​​equality, gender equality focuses specifically on gender relations and designates that women and men have the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all spheres of life. That means an equal distribution of power and influence, equal economic independence, shared responsibility for household and care as well as freedom from gender-based violence.

Women are to a greater extent than men exposed to discrimination based on their gender. They generally have less power, worse conditions and fewer opportunities than men. Because of this, gender equality is often equated with the term “women’s status and rights”.  Unfortunately, this description of gender equality makes the central role that men play invisible, both as agents of change but also as “societal winners” who are not restricted or judged based on their gender.

KIC believe that men and women have a shared responsibility for gender equality, and that both sexes as well as society as a whole benefit from not restricting rights and opportunities based on one’s sex. Equality also means countering discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Within the concept of gender equality, the biological sex is separated from the social sex (gender), where the former refers to one’s anatomic constitution, while the other is about cultural roles, properties and actions linked to a certain biological sex. Gender equality can be promoted by increasing girls’ and boys’ opportunities to make choices in life beyond the restrictive gender norms, sexuality and identity[1].

Women and men are not homogeneous groups, but consist of individuals with different identities, perspectives, circumstances, needs, opportunities and influence. This means that other social categories other than gender, such as race and socioeconomic status, should be made visible in a gender perspective in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the unjust power relations. In the context of gender equality, it is important not to only pay attention to direct forms of discrimination but also indirect ones.

Within KIC’s activity sector – democracy assistance – gender equality is an important component. Gender equality is both a goal in itself, as a prerequisite for long-term democratic development and respect for human rights. Furthermore, studies show a strong correlation between gender equality and poverty reduction (see eg “Engendering development”, World Bank report 2001).

 

As a democracy actor, partner, donor and recipient of state funds, KIC has a duty to promote gender equality in the work and in the relationships with partners and other stakeholders. In addition to the four areas mentioned in the MFA’s equality policy – women political participation, women’s economic participation, sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as the fight against gender-based violence – KIC will specifically focus on the following objectives:

 

i) that women and men should have equal opportunities to participate and influence political processes and decision-making at all levels.

ii) that conducted policies promote gender equality and women’s rights through gender mainstreaming of political analysis and decisions as well as through gender-specific interventions.

Gender mainstreaming is a method that ensures that a gender perspective is applied to all aspects of an organization and its activities.  In this case, gender mainstreaming will ensure that KIC does not reinforce or maintain, but actively discourage, uneven distribution of power between the sexes, as well as challenging the notions and prejudices about sex. Examples of specific gender equality measures could be capacity building of women politicians or gender workshops for both women and men. Furthermore, it is important that KIC has a continuous dialogue with partners regarding this subject, both by through requirements and encouragement.

KIC will also utilize the experience and expertise that partners can have in gender issues, and be sensitive to the cultural and political context in which the partner is active. However, it is important to emphasize that there are no excuses for gender inequality, but that women and men’s equal rights and opportunities in theory and practice are fundamental democratic values ​​without which an organization’s democracy promotion efforts can be questionable.

This policy should be considered and revised annually in KIC’s activity plan, for example in the form of goals or activities, and subsequently followed up in the annual report. The policy should also be taken into consideration in each program / project. KIC will develop a supplementary document to the policy as well as provide more concrete guidance on how gender mainstreaming is implemented. An action plan stating how to proceed in cases where partners are acting in ways that are in direct conflict with KIC’s equality policy, e.g. agitation against LGBT-people, will be established. KIC’s approach to and management of gender in relation to staff matters can be found in the staff handbook. The chief responsible for KIC’s overall gender equality is the Secretary General and the focal point for gender equality, where the Secretary-General focuses on organization and personnel, and the focal point of activity. Project managers are responsible for gender mainstreaming their respective programs / projects, with support from the focal point.

[1] Quote from ”Policy on gender equality and women’s rights and role” within the Swedish International Development Cooperation 2010 – 2015, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2010, p 5.