When I joined iDE as the gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) manager in April of 2021, it had been years since I’d worked in the international development sector. In truth, I was feeling like a fish out of water. During my onboarding process, I learned all about iDE and our founder Paul Polack who famously believed in a guiding principle that “you shouldn’t design anything until you had talked to at least 100 potential users”. His approach to entrepreneurship and innovation was inspiring and what drew me to iDE in the first place, so I was determined to take his advice and use it in my own approach to GESI at iDE. My position was new at our organization, although we had secured some funding to assist us with the start of our own gender mainstreaming journey. As I began looking around, I realized that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of tools to help organizations integrate gender equity and equality goals into their culture, policy and procedures. The overwhelming amount of tools can be daunting, making it difficult to know exactly which tool was most relevant to where we were on our journey.
I thought that if I was experiencing a sort of analysis paralysis, I could learn from others who had mainstreamed gender into their organizations already. So, we enlisted the help of a few researchers who specialize in gender and international development research and conducted some desk research and a series of interviews with GESI managers and specialists in the sector. The goal was to not only to craft our own approach to gender mainstreaming, but to share our findings with the wider international development community through a curated toolkit with specific user journeys. Thus, we gathered the data we had collected and sorted it into key themes for the next phase of our project: understanding user journeys.
Luckily, iDE’s innovation lab specializes in human-centered design and rather than create another toolkit, our HCD experts helped us to identify the best gender mainstreaming resources from our research and compile them into a curated site, organized to best fit the user’s needs. Specifically, we identified three user journeys to guide users to those resources that can help them to address gender in the workplace according to where they are currently in their level of mainstreaming as well as their size and the type of their organization. We realized that there were three main types of users of a gender mainstreaming toolkit: leaders seeking to understand industry best practice, gender practitioners with a strong knowledge of gender mainstreaming, and workers who had been tasked with mainstreaming gender into a specific area of their organization. We decided to tailor the entry point into our toolkit for each of these three groups:
Three Journeys Explained
With our gender specialist audience in mind, we recognized that some visitors will have a strong base knowledge of gender mainstreaming issues, a comprehensive approach to their theory of change, and a need to review tools most closely associated with specific approaches. These users have the ability to review our toolkit based on the gender mainstreaming methodology and approaches they are associated with.
Of course, gender mainstreaming is a cross-cutting issue that can potentially impact program managers, HR professionals, marketing, and communications workers, people managers, and more. These visitors most likely have a quick question about integrating gender mainstreaming into a specific area of their day-to-day processes. With these users in mind, we provide a short-cut from answer to solution set.
Finally, leaders of global development organizations understand the increasing importance of integrating gender mainstreaming into their organization’s policies and practices but may not have the specialized knowledge required to do so. With our leaders in mind, we curated a list of stories of change that can be accessed by organization size and level of mainstreaming so leaders can benchmark against others in the sector and source inspiration for future improvements.
You can learn more about our gender mainstreaming journey and check out our curated toolkit at https://inclusion.ideglobal.org/. You can also reach out to me if you have additional questions about the site and ways iDE can collaborate with your organization.
Read more on gender here.