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From Policy to Action: A study on the implementation of gender policies and a gender perspective in Swedish humanitarian assistance work
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

More than a decade has now passed since the concept of “gender mainstreaming” and polices addressing a gender perspective first appeared on the international agenda, yet evaluations on these policies’ implementation show that progress has been slow in the field of humanitarian assistance. As executive workers, the humanitarian field staff have in policy documents been identified as crucial actors in the “gender mainstreaming” work, however, no previous research have been found evaluating their achievements in the field.

This study examines if formulated gender policies, within Swedish humanitarian organisations and agencies, are implemented and translated into action in the field. This was carried out by investigating Swedish humanitarian fieldworkers’ gender sensitiveness and experiences of working with a gender perspective in the field. The empirical material was collected from qualitative deep interviews with ten fieldworkers from four different humanitarian organisations/agencies. The interview data was then analysed by using a theoretical framework based on Gender theory, Postcolonial feminist theory and Policy implementation theory.

The results show that even though most of the interviewed fieldworkers mean that they are aware of gender issues and the importance of using a gender perspective in the field, they have a general low understanding of the gender concept. An emerging “cultural sensitivity versus gender policy implementation” dilemma was valid and possibly affecting the informants’ attempts to act on formulated policies. Moreover, the method that the organisations/agencies use when educating staff on gender issues seem to have an impact on this dilemma. It became apparent that the fieldworkers underestimate their own responsibility in using a gender perspective in the field; at the same time the organisations/agencies overestimate their workers’ capacity to implement their gender policies. Much also indicate on how a still old-fashioned gender discourse is produced, and reproduced, in gender policy formulations and among the fieldworkers. In conclusion, it seems like a gap occur between the initial intention of a policy, its formulation, interpretation and the final intervention result.

Abstract [sv]

Mer än ett decennium har passerat sedan begreppet "gender mainstreaming " och genus policys först dök upp på den internationella dagordningen. Trots detta visar utvärderingar att genomförandet av dessa policyer varit långsamt inom humanitärt- och katastrofbistånd. Som verkställande arbetare har personalen inom humanitär verksamhet i flera policydokument identifierats som viktiga aktörer för arbetet mot att implementera genus policys, dock har ingen tidigare forskning utvärderat deras faktiska utförande i fält.

Studien undersöker huruvida svenska humanitära biståndsorganisationer- och myndigheters formulerade genuspolicys implementeras och omsätts till handling i fält. Detta görs genom att granska svenska humanitära fältarbetares genusmedvetenhet och erfarenheter av att arbeta med ett genusperspektiv i sina uppdrag. Det empiriska materialet samlades in från kvalitativa djupintervjuer med tio fältarbetare från fyra olika svenska organisationer/myndigheter. Materialet analyserades med hjälp av ett teoretiskt ramverk baserat på Genusteori, Postkolonial feministisk teori och teori kring policyimplementering.

Resultaten visar att även om de flesta av de intervjuade fältarbetarna säger sig vara medvetna om begreppet genus, och vikten av att använda ett genusperspektiv i fält, har de en låg förståelse för innebörden av konceptet. Ett dilemma mellan ”kulturell känslighet” och ”implementering av genuspolicys” uppkom, där organisationernas/myndigheternas utbildningsmetod av ett genustänk möjligtvis har en förstärkande inverkan. Tydligt var att fältarbetarna verkar underskattar sitt eget ansvar i att använda ett genusperspektiv i fält, samtidigt som organisationerna/myndigheterna överskattar sina anställdas förmåga att arbeta efter de formulerade policyerna. Mycket tyder också på att en fortfarande ganska otidsenlig könsdiskurs produceras och reproduceras både i formulerade genuspolicys, och bland fältarbetarna. Sammanfattningsvis verkar det som att det uppstår en klyfta mellan den initiala intentionen av en policy, dess utformning, tolkningen av denna och interventionens slutresultat.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 49 p.
Keyword [en]
gender equality, gender mainstreaming, humanitarian/disaster relief, policy implementation, postcolonial feminist theory
Keyword [sv]
jämställdhet, gender mainstreaming, humanitärt bistånd/katastrofbistånd, policy implementering, postkolonial feministisk teori
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-18484OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-18484DiVA: diva2:604680
Subject / course
Environment and development
Presentation
(English)
Uppsok
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2013-02-12 Created: 2013-02-11 Last updated: 2014-01-31Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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