Gender audits allow organisations ‘to set their own houses in order, and change aspects of the organisational culture which discriminate against women staff and women “beneficiaries”’.
As a method for gender mainstreaming, gender audits help organisations identify and understand gender patterns within their composition, structures, processes, organisational culture and management of human resources, and in the design and delivery of policies and services.
They also help assess the impact of or-ganisational performance and its management on gender equality within the organisation. Gender audits establish a baseline against which progress can be measured over time, identifying critical gender gaps and challenges, and making recommendations of how they can be addressed through improvements and innovations.
Although there is no standard approach for carrying out a gender audit, international organi-sations use two main approaches: participatory gender audit and the gender integration framework. A gender audit usually includes two dimensions. An internal audit.
This dimension refers to how much an organisation fosters gender equality internally within its organisational, managerial structure and internal work, and whether these contribute to gender equality in the organisation. An internal gender audit monitors and assesses the relative progress made in gender mainstreaming, contributes to capacity building and collective organisational ownership for gender equality initiatives, and sharpens organisational learning on gender.
An external audit. This dimension aims to assess to what extent an organisation mainstreams gender in its policies, programmes, projects and services in terms of content, delivery and evaluation. External gender audits evaluate to what extent gender integration fosters the inclusion of, and benefits to, women and men involved in or affected by the organisation’s policies, programmes, projects or services provided. When applied to policies, programmes, projects or services, a gender audit starts by exploring to what extent gender equality is mainstreamed in high-level policy objectives and priorities, and further assesses to what extent policy intentions are actually carried out in specific initiatives (e.g. programmes, projects, services).
At the planning level, a gender audit analyses whether there are gender-specific objectives or if gender is mainstreamed in the general objectives of the policy in order to guarantee that they contribute to close gender gaps, ensure that women and men benefit equally or in accordance with their gender needs and that inequalities are not perpetuated. Similarly, a gender audit goes on to analyse how gender is mainstreamed into the implementation phase of the policy, programme or project.
Finally, a gender audit of the monitoring and evaluation phase investigates whether targets and indicators include a gender perspective both in terms of sex-disaggregated data and progress towards gender equality.