From May 2010 to May 2011, the OSCE has seen positive achievements and continued progress toward the implementation of the commitments contained in the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality. These achievements include: an increase in the number of qualified women seconded and contracted for senior management positions; continued improvements in the professional work environment, and an increase in the overall number of projects implemented by the OSCE structures incorporating a gender perspective.
The OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality stresses the need for a transparent recruitment process to ensure the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity. It also encourages the participating States to submit more female candidates for OSCE positions, particularly at the higher-level, where women are under-represented.
Based on statistics prepared by the Department of Human Resources, the Gender Section analyses the representation of women and men in each category of post at each level in the OSCE, the result of which is annexed to the Secretary General's Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the Action Plan.
As of May 2011, the total number of staff working in the OSCE was 2,638, with women representing 46 per cent. The percentage of women in the general service category (G1 to G7) was 47 per cent, comparable to the prior two years where women represented 46 per cent. Women in professional positions (national professional officers (NPOs), P1 to P4, S, S1 and S2), reached an historic high of 48 per cent, an increase from the 46 per cent in 2010 and 45 per cent in 2009.
Women's participation in senior management positions reached a record high of 31 per cent as of May 2011. This represents an increase from 30 per cent in 2010 and a significant increase of 24 per cent in 2009.
The OSCE Training Section, in co-operation with the Gender Section, provides training support on gender awareness and mainstreaming to staff members in the Secretariat and in the field. From May 2010 through May 2011, The Training Section organized two three-day intensive training sessions on gender mainstreaming, training 43 participants from the Secretariat, Institutions and Field Operations. The General Orientation Programme for new staff members includes an hour-long session on Gender Issues in the OSCE. From May 2010 through May 2011, 336 OSCE staff/mission members participated in the Programme.
The Action Plan calls on the Secretary General and Heads of Institutions and field operations to exercise active leadership in building gender awareness in the OSCE and to intensify their efforts to achieve a professional working environment.
As a standard part of the General Orientation Programme, the Staff Regulations and Staff Rules, and Instructions are introduced to new OSCE staff. The OSCE Staff Instruction on discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment and its related formal and informal processes is emphasized. Additionally, the Mediation Co-ordination Team has established a roster of certified external mediators available to mediate cases of conflict in the organization.
The Gender Action Plan calls for the integration of a gender perspective in OSCE activities and projects across the three dimensions of security. The work of the OSCE field operations in delivering concrete assistance on the ground is central to guaranteeing that gender issues remain at the forefront of the Organization’s priorities and activities. Field operations have provide support to participating States in the implementation of women’s rights projects in the priority areas established in the Action Plan. From May 2010 through May 2011, support included the development of legislative frameworks on gender equality, implementation of existing gender equality frameworks, promotion of women’s participation as candidates for elected office and support for the prevention of violence against women.
These achievements demonstrate the continued commitment to the promotion of gender equality within the OSCE’s structures.