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Benefits of Gender Equality (BGE)

Benefits of Gender Equality (BGE)

EIGE’s project ‘Benefits of Gender Equality’ aimed to reflect on strategic approaches and methodologies used for conceptualisation and measuring of some of those benefits...

Reform of parental leave system: equal non-transferable fully paid parental leave. A case study to estimate the overall benefits of specific policy reforms within the gender equality political agenda.

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) delivered the ‘Provision of Methodological approach to estimate the overall benefits of specific policy reforms within the gender equality political agenda’, one of the four background papers commissioned by the European Institute of Gender Equality (EIGE) within the ‘Benefits of the Gender Equality (BGE)’ project.

The other papers commissioned were:

  • ‘Conceptual framework and approaches for estimating the benefits of gender equality in the EU: rights-based approach versus the economic case for gender equality’ by University of the West of England (UK)
  • ‘Sectoral approach to the benefits of gender equality: the benefits of gender equality through expenditures on public infrastructures’ by University of Murcia (Spain)
  • ‘The economic and social case for gender equality: feasibility analysis’ by University of Modena (Italy)

The papers are not published yet, but their summaries and main challenges and conclusions are available as a PDF (p.58-62).They are also available in other languages: ESP, IT, FR, DE.

Context

During 2013, EIGE led online discussions and expert group meetings on the benefits of gender equality and the challenges and opportunities to measure them. Afterwards, EIGE commissioned four background papers which explained how to deliver robust and credible evidence on the benefits of gender equality, taking especial consideration of the circumstances under which women’s economic participation and empowerment enhances growth, as well as other positive dimensions of increased gender equality. 

Objectives

EIGE’s project ‘Benefits of Gender Equality’ aimed to reflect on strategic approaches and methodologies used for conceptualisation and measuring of some of those benefits. The objective was to support policymakers in their decision making process highlighting the real current and potential benefits of gender equality, if this objective was achieved. 

Methodology

The methodology used was based on triangulation and a realistic approach, combining the interaction with stakeholders, the client and the review of secondary data, literature and evaluations, to produce a comprehensive report aimed at being used for decision-making and policy action.The methodology developed, and used for the case study, includes a rights-based approach and socio-economic perspectives applied to gender equality.The methodological guidelines for the ex-ante evaluation include several steps: 
  • Feasibility analysis of the policy reform: transition costs considering political, legal, economic and social context.
  • Literature review, including research and evaluations
  • Frame analysis, including the EC gender impact assessment
  • Change chain: combination of causal change analysis and theory of change
  • Interviews with stakeholders
  • Use of evaluation for advocacy, learning, data collection and data gap analysis and community building
Based on our previous experience in evaluation of policy reforms affecting gender equality, such as the Study on the costs and benefits of possible EU measures on paternity leave (2010-2011) or the Study on the costs and benefits of possible EU measures on filial leave (2011), the methodological approach has explicitly introduced hypothesis and different approaches to overcome, to some extent ‚the limited available data. Thus, benefits and costs have been estimated in a broader sense, combining data from assessments, research, evaluation (IA, ex-ante, ex-post, GIA), development and potential or partial implementation of policy reforms carried out by policy-makers, researchers, evaluators and civil society organisations. 

Impact

At an institutional level, this project has supported the development of the focus on benefits of gender equality, and not only in the transition costs for some groups of the policy reforms. It provides a systemic thinking view on changes potentially produced by policy reforms. The peer review of the four background papers was the base for the future definition and phases of the EIGE’s ‘Benefits of Gender Equality’ project. In particular, the ‘Economic Benefits of Gender Equality’, in development over 2015-2016, has become the next step of this thematic work stream of EIGE.In relation to the gender equality political agenda, it provides an ex-ante evaluation of the policy reform of the parental leave system, which has been in the EU political debate for longer than a decade.As stakeholders and community are concerned, awareness-rising, mutual learning and wider debate about methodological approaches and the effects of the parental leave policies have happened. Other EU projects, such as the Gender Pay Gap project, have built from some project findings.Regarding methodology, it synthesises current methodological approaches and it proposes emerging options for the analysis of the benefits of prioritising the gender equality dimension within the overhauling policies and legislation, and the costs of no-action. As benefits are especially difficult to quantify, it offers different options depending on context and data gaps, so benefits can be measured if they cannot be quantified. The methodological guidelines support to firstly introduce the gender equality perspective in the policy reform and secondly to assess benefits and use them for gender equality advocacy. 

Results

Participation in online discussions and expert group meetings on benefits of gender equality.The background paper: ‘Reform of parental leave system: equal non-transferable fully paid parental leave. A case study to estimate the overall benefits of specific policy reforms within the gender equality political agenda’ (PDF).Participation in peer-review of the other background papers during a consultation meeting in the EIGE office, in Vilnius.For more information on this project please contact: Cristina Castellanos, TIHR Senior Researcher / Consultant.
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