The OSCE aims to provide equal opportunities for women and men, as well as to integrate gender equality into policies and practices, both within participating States and the Organization itself. With local partners, the OSCE develops and runs projects across the OSCE region to empower women, and build local capacities and expertise on gender issues. It co-operates with authorities in reviewing legislation and assists in building national mechanisms to ensure equality between women and men.
The 57 OSCE participating States have adopted several specific policies and measures in support of gender equality. The Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality provides the main framework for OSCE activities on gender equality and assigns responsibilities and tasks to the Organization’s Secretariat, Institutions and field operations as well as to participating States, including:
- Ensuring that all OSCE policies, programmes and activities are gender mainstreamed;
- Providing staff members with tools and training on gender mainstreaming;
- Developing a professional, gender-sensitive management culture and working environment;
- Increasing the representation of female managers in higher positions;
- Supporting the efforts of participating States in achieving gender equality;
- Setting specific priorities for the promotion of women’s rights;
- Highlighting and promoting the role of women in conflict prevention and peace reconstruction processes; and
- Monitoring and evaluating progress on the implementation of the Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality. The OSCE Secretary General presents a progress report annually to the Permanent Council.
The Gender Section, within the Office of the OSCE Secretary General, assists with the integration of a gender perspective into the Organization’s policies and programmes in the three dimensions of security: the politico-military, the economic and environmental, and the human dimension. The Gender Section implements thematic programmes and develops operational tools, guidelines and capacity building materials to assist staff members and participating States.
The OSCE has appointed gender focal points in each field operation and Institution, as well as in all departments of the Organization’s Secretariat. They are tasked with raising awareness and supporting OSCE staff in mainstreaming gender issues in different policies, programmes and projects.
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) implements programmes on increasing the participation of women in the political and public arena, capacity building of women’s networks, combating violence against women and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 emphasizing the involvement of women in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.
The Parliamentary Assembly has appointed a Special Representative on Gender Issues, whose responsibility is to mainstream gender issues in the Assembly’s decisions, reports and resolutions.