Public policy, having a tremendous impact on everyday life, affects men and women differently; and yet gender remains the most unattended dimension of much public policy. Gender continues to be an underdeveloped area in research and, even more, in political practice. In India, there has been progress in gendering policy with gender budgeting and training/creating awareness on gender issues, as well as (limited) gender audits at the institutional level. Still, there is far to go, as gender has not become central to policy and little inclusion has been done from the point of its ‘lived effects’.
Within our programme, we are examining policy through the eyes of men, women, minority sexualities and other identities with a commitment to mainstream gender into policy analysis and action. We ask how we would change public policy if gender really mattered. What principles should shape public policy if the ‘gender question’ was considered? What would be the guiding frameworks that allowed for gender equality and inclusion of people of all sexes and identities? We need, for example, to re-think how social protection, decent wages and employment, public health, finance and banking, care work, public mobility - even trade and foreign policy - can be re-negotiated to ensure gender equitable relations and development.
Since 2009, HBF’s “gender and trade” programme worked towards gaining a better understanding of the ways in which trade liberalization in India has influenced gender (in)equalities. Our current programme extends the approach, towards strengthening competency, analytical capacity and action in the thematic area of “gender and socio-economic policy”. Towards this end we engage with policy makers/analysts, development practitioners, research institutions, civil society organizations and the academia.