Mainstreaming was clearly established as the global strategy for
promoting gender equality through the Platform for Action at the United
Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.
The need to ensure that attention to gender perspectives is an integral
part of interventions in all areas of societal development was made clear in
that document. For each of the strategic objectives identified in Beijing
specific reference was made to the importance of the mainstreaming
strategy. For example, in the chapter on 'Women in power and
decision-making', paragraph 189, specifically addresses mainstreaming: "In
addressing the inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and
decision-making at all levels, Governments and other actors should promote an
active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all
policies and programmes so that before decisions are taken, an analysis is
made of the effects on women and men, respectively."
The strategy of mainstreaming is defined in the ECOSOC
Agreed Conclusions, 1997/2
Mainstreaming is not about adding on a 'women's component', or even a
'gender equality component', to an existing activity. It involves more than
increasing women's participation. Mainstreaming situates gender equality
issues at the centre of policy decisions.
(International Telecommunication Union -
Group on Gender Issues)