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Gender Responsive Standards Initiative

The UNECE “Gender Responsive Standards Initiative” aims at providing a practical way forward for standards bodies wishing to take a step towards making the standards they develop and the standards development process they follow gender responsive.
The initiative started work in 2016, in response to a mandate by the Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies (WP.6).
It aims to:
  • strengthen the use of standards and technical regulations as powerful tools to attain SDG 5 (Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls),
  • integrate a gender lens in the development of both standards and technical regulations,
  • elaborate gender indicators and criteria that could be used in standards development.

The initiative is ongoing, and has held nine webinar meetings and three physical meetings. These events continue to bring together a diverse working group composed of representatives from standardization bodies as well as experts on gender issues and women’s empowerment, representative of regulatory bodies and policymakers, as well as NGOs, UN Organizations and members of the academic community from the entire world. Among others, the following institutions participate: 
- International standards bodies (ASTM International, IEC, ISO, ISEAL) national and regional standards bodies (AFNOR, BSI, the Swedish Standards Institute, CEN/CENELEC, the Institute for Standardization of Moldova), 
- governmental authorities, regional and intergovernmental organizations (WorkSafe New Zealand, the European Commission, the Eurasian Economic Commission), as well as 
- NGOs (BSR, International Gender Champions, L'Association Réseau Normalisation et Francophonie, EDGE Certified Foundation),
- UN organizations (the International Trade Centre (ITC), ITU, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UN/WOMEN, and the World Meteorological Organization) and 
- academic and research institutions.
The meetings allow participants to exchange information and best practice about successful approaches to gender-responsive standards development and implementation.
The activities of the Gender Responsive Standards Initiative culminated in the drafting of the Declaration for Gender Responsive Standards and Standards Development. The Declaration invites all standards bodies, whatever their business model and operations modality to pledge to make the standards they develop and the standards development process they use gender responsive by: signing the Gender Responsive Standards and Standards Development Declaration, creating and proactively implementing a gender action plan for their organization and tracking progress, collecting and sharing data, success stories and good practices. The document contains an annex that outlines actions that national standards bodies can include in their gender action plan for gender responsive standards and standards development. It is for each organization to decide what they can / should include in their gender action plan. The list of actions is not exhaustive; it is intended simply to provide ideas and inspiration for gender action plans for standards development organizations of any type. 
The Declaration is embedded into a Recommendation that was approved at the 28th Annual Session of the WP.6 on 15th November 2018 and that will be opened for signature at a date to be still decided.
A number of standards bodies have already committed to signing the declaration as soon as it is opened for signature.

The GRSI has developed practical advice for standards developers on how they can improve the gender-responsiveness of their standards. An advanced copy of these guidelines is available here pending its finalization for the WP.6 annual session in November 2022. 

Please do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat if you would like to have further information, or participate in this Initiative. 

Minutes of the physical meetings:

Gender-Responsive Standards Initiative delivarables:
Articles and reports:
Minutes of the webinar meetings of the Initiative are available by request to the secretariat