Gender mainstreaming, employment and youth - Switzerland
Gender equality is a cross-cutting theme of Switzerland’s Economic Development Cooperation, meaning that it is considered to be a high-level development-relevant matter that is systemically taken into consideration in all programmes and projects so as to maximize their impact. Thereby, the strategic goal is to “promote gender equality and empower women and girls.” The exclusion and unfair treatment of women have serious social but also economic consequences. In many places, women still participate only marginally in the labour market and have difficulties in accessing financial services, for example, and, hence, hindering the development of society as a whole. It is, therefore, crucial in economically oriented projects to systematically incorporate the gender dimension (social norms, legal requirements, and gender-specific risks). SECO has, thus, developed an instrument that queries the gender-specific risks or opportunities for each priority theme, raising awareness among staff. Also, more gender-disaggregated indicators have been developed to provide more accurate and systematic results for projects. The gender dimension is also addressed in SECO’s risk policy.
The topic of employment has a central role in Switzerland’s Economic Development Cooperation. The experience has shown that the creation of jobs and dignified working conditions is key to generating inclusive economic development. Better working conditions, in turn, help to increase productivity and, thus, competitiveness and market access. Switzerland, therefore, has worked alongside ILO to promote international labor standards. The main programs supported are the Better Work Programme (ILO/IFC), which works to achieve compliance with national and international labor standards in the textile sector, and the ILO Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Programme promoting working conditions and productivity in SMEs/