Publication: Gender Machineries Worldwide

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McBride, Dorothy
Mazur, Amy
The term gender machineries usually refers to formal government structures assigned to promote gender equality and/or improve the status and rights of women. Examining these structures in many countries around the world shows that in practice the machineries take a wide variety of forms, from formal ministries to temporary councils and committees. They may be established by formal statute, executive decree, or bureaucratic rules, or there may be machineries in political parties that have a widespread influence. Some observers expect that effective agencies will be statutory, centralized, complex and well funded, a form that withstands changes in political leadership. However, there is no one single form that is consistently more effective generally than others. In addition, it is the variety of possible agency forms that allows machinery to adapt to blowing political winds and changing demands of gender policy and politics. At times a centrally located executive commission may be required; later, it may be a ministry or bureaucratic office; at still other times all three may coexist. In some countries, a range of single issue agencies--for labor, health, and education matters--can be more effective than a large Ministry expected to cover all issues. In others situations, machineries may be more active at regional and local government levels.
McBride, Dorothy; Mazur, Amy. 2012. Gender Machineries Worldwide. © Washington, DC: World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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