The ToS 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 work of the ToS is ongoing and it 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 was opened for signature on May 14, 2019 during a special event.
A number of standards bodies committed to signing the declaration and by the end of 2022 there were ca 80 intenational, regional and national bodies among the signatories.
The GRS ToS has developed practical advice for standards developers on how they can improve the gender-responsiveness of their standards. These guidelines were finalized and adopted at 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 GRS ToS meetings:
- First meeting of the Gender-Responsive Standards Initiative and minutes (4 April 2017)
- Second meeting minutes (28 November 2017)
- Third meeting minutes (14 November 2018)
- Fourth meeting minutes (20 November 2019)
- Fifth meeting minutes (2 November 2020)
- Sixth meeting minutes (24 November 2021)
- Seventh meeting minutes (8 June 2022)
Gender-Responsive Standards Initiative (from 2022 November Team of Specialists) delivarables:
- Advanced copy of the "Guidance on Gender-Responsive Standards" document
- Recommendation U on “Gender Responsive Standards” in English, French and Russian
- 2021 GRS Initiative Report to WP.6 annual session
- 2020 GRS Initiative Report to WP.6 annual session
- 2019 GRS Initiative Report to WP.6 annual session
- Gender mainstreaming in standards
- Gender Responsive Standards Declaration website
- Gender Action Plan Repository website
Articles and reports:
- March-April 2018 ASTM magazine "Standardization News" devoted to Women in Standards featuring an interview with the WP.6 Secretary
- 2017 Annual Report of International Gender Champions featuring overview on the UNECE initiative on "Gender-Responsive Standards" on page 13
- UNECE WP.6 Secretariat on "Standards & Gender Equality"
- A Gender Lens to Sustainability Codes and Auditing Methodologies by BSR
- The Gendered Impact of Standards by International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)
- APEC Gender Inclusion Guidelines (GIG)
- Gender-based Voluntary Standards by International Trade Centre (ITC)
- Gender-Based Analysis Plus Tool by Status of Women Canada
- Gender Bias in Standardisation by WorkSafe New Zealand
- Promoting Entrepreneurship Among Young People and Women by Réseau Normalisation et Francophonie (RNF)
- Gender Action Plan by British Standards Institution (BSI)
Minutes of the webinar meetings of the Initiative are available by request to the secretariat