Accepted paper:

Women and gender in development policy. Views from Finland and Poland.


Joanna Bunikowska (University of Eastern Finland)

Paper short abstract:

The objective of the paper is to present main findings of the ongoing doctoral research in the topic of addressing gender equality- and women's rights related issues in development policies of two different donors: Finland and Poland.

Paper long abstract:

While research in development (cooperation) mostly focuses on developing countries or particular projects and programs, this study is a self-reflection by looking at the other end: donor's development policies. It focuses on "women" and "gender" in this context as particular development issue where the gap between rhetoric and practice has been significant globally. Finland has been known for its commitment to gender equality on national level that has also been reflected in Finnish development policy. The study looks at processes of institutionalization of "gender" in development and identifies "the leadership's" various role: from conducive, through indifferent to hindering; the gender adviser's special role that includes not only being an expert but foremost advocate of "gender" and that it has been mostly gender adviser's task to provide the content to policy statements on gender equality. The study examines the process of translation of policy into practice and describes how "gender" is likely to dissipate along the way down to the "field", but also, on the other hand, identifies special factors that contribute to strengthening "gender" in this process. Poland's case is an interesting study of how a "new donor" finds itself in this new position, about the institutionalization of development policy, defining its identity and tapping into experiences as recipient of development aid. The study shows how and why "gender equality" could not become one of the official development issues in Poland's development agenda. Yet, many funded projects targeted women and girls often with unintended effect of promoting of gender equality.

panel E10
Gendered development: exploring the promotion of economic and social equality over time