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First ILO Gender Audit
The International Labour Office (ILO) began conducting its first Gender Audit beginning in October 2001 through April 2002, as foreseen in the Action Plan on Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming in the ILO. The audit used a participatory and self-assessment approach to promote organizational learning about gender mainstreaming.
The main objective of the audit was to promote organizational learning at the individual, work unit and Office levels on how to effectively implement gender mainstreaming in the policies, programmes and structures of the Office, which is the Secretariat of the International Labour Organization.
Participating Work Units
In order to ensure a representative sampling across the Office, a total of 15 work units implementing ILO programmes in Geneva and in the regions voluntarily participated in the audits from October 2001 to April 2002.
Teams consisting of ILO staff and external consultants facilitated two-day participatory workshops for each work unit that is undertaking an audit. The results of these, which were relayed back to members of the work unit, helped to form a picture of performance on gender mainstreaming in the ILO, good practices emerging, problems and obstacles encountered, and lessons learned.
Reviews were also made of each participating work unit's products (such as project-related documents, databases and publications), advocacy and advisory services, and technical cooperation. This was done using predetermined indicators and criteria in order to assess the manner and extent to which gender has been systematically mainstreamed.
In addition, at ILO headquarters in Geneva a global review assessed key ILO policy documents, major publications, and programming, budget, monitoring and evaluation processes. The global review focused on the extent to which gender has been systemically mainstreamed in ILO products, services and management systems.
Results of the Audit
A final report summarizes the results of the local and global reviews, as well as conclusions of the workshops. The report covers areas such as:
Mainstreaming of gender equality as a cross-cutting concern in the ILO's Strategic Objectives, programme and budget;
existing gender expertise, competence and capacity building;
information and knowledge management;
choice of partner organizations;
staffing and human resources; and
perception of achievement on gender equality.
The final report, which includes recommendations, was prepared for submission to the Senior Management Team of ILO in May 2002 and to the ILO Governing Body in November 2002.
A communication strategy includes disseminating and sharing information about the process and outcome of the audit. These will be shared with constituents, the donor community, United Nations system, and other interested organizations.
Preparation for the Audit
During the first half of 2001, the Bureau for Gender Equality at ILO headquarters collected and assessed experiences of gender audits in other organizations, mainly governmental development organizations and NGOs. It also recruited external consultants for the ILO audit and carried out consultations within the Office about the audit's objectives and methodology.
The audit was also discussed during meetings with the ILO Executive Directors, Regional Directors and with gender coordinators and programming officials of each ILO Sector.
In July 2001, a meeting with the external consultants in Geneva included a briefing session with ILO gender coordinators and programming staff. In early August the Gender Bureau met with the Department heads of Programme Management and Human Resources Development to discuss coordination of the audit process.
And in early September 2001 a technical meeting was held in Geneva to adapt a manual for the training of audit facilitators. By the end of September 2001 the manual was edited, finalized and distributed to the facilitators (about 20 ILO staff plus four external consultants) for their participation in a training session on 8-11 October 2001 in Geneva.
A second trainig session for another group of facilitators was organized on 15-18 January 2002 in Geneva. Efforts were made to ensure the participation of men as facilitators in the audit teams in order to convey the message to work units that gender equality concerns both sexes, no just women.
Gender Audit Report Annexes download in [.pdf] (424 kb)