The Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) has evaluated the Government's development programme for gender mainstreaming in agencies (JiM). The programme was implemented in the period 2013–2018 and involved a total of 60 government agencies. In this final report, we have primarily analysed the governance of the JiM programme to give the Government a basis for developing the governance of the agencies' work with gender mainstreaming.
The JiM programme consisted of two parts. The participating government agencies were tasked with developing their operations to better contribute to achieving the gender equality policy goals. There was also a national support function commissioned to assist the agencies in this work.
The JiM programme has been relatively successful
Overall, Statskontoret finds that the JiM programme has been relatively successful. The Government has in several respects created good conditions for the agencies to contribute to the gender equality policy goals. The agencies have also carried out extensive efforts, and several of their results have a great potential of contributing to the achievement of the goals. This is a success, considering that it is generally difficult for cross-sectorial issues to have an impact in the governance. However, the Government could have contributed to even greater goal achievement through clearer, better tailored and more resource-efficient governance.
The purpose of JiM has been fulfilled
The purpose of the JiM programme is for the government agencies to reinforce their gender mainstreaming efforts. We find that the purpose of the programme has been fulfilled. The agencies have generally disseminated the JiM efforts well across their operations. Most of the agencies included all or much of their externally-focused operations in their efforts and they also got several parts of the organisation involved.
The aim of JiM has been partly achieved
The aim of the JiM programme is for the operations of participating government agencies to better contribute to achieving the gender equality policy goals. We find that this aim has been achieved in part. Our evaluation indicates that several of the agencies have achieved extensive results. They have changed their working methods and are able to show that the measures have led to a more equal outcome for their target groups. These results have a great potential to contribute to the achievement of the gender equality policy goals. But we have also seen several examples of results that only contribute marginally to the goals. The reason for this is primarily that the agencies' efforts have had little relation to actual gender equality issues in their operations or in society.
The central governance has been forceful, but did not provide enough guidance
The Government has managed the JiM programme decisively. The Government has made gender equality a high priority throughout the programme and has translated this political will into its governance, for example through commissions to the government agencies and to an external support function. This contributed to the government agencies' extensive initiatives. In that sense, the management of the programme was effective.
The central governance was slightly less effective in making the government agencies work with the right things in order to contribute to the gender equality policy goals. The agencies were not given enough guidance in the JiM process. Overall, they had difficulties interpreting the open-ended wording of the commission, and the Government Offices also failed to notice this. The support function had too extensive an assignment in relation to its resources, which made it difficult to provide the government agencies with adequate and tailored support.
The Government should clarify the agencies' commission and focus its own resources and those of the support function
We make the assessment that the governance of the agencies' gender mainstreaming efforts would be even more effective in the future if the commission was clearer, better tailored and more resource-efficient. We therefore recommend that:
- The Government specifies the gender mainstreaming commission to the agencies by breaking down the gender equality policy goals into tailored objectives that specify what each respective agency is to achieve. It would also be reasonable for the Government to clarify which gender equality issues in the operations or at the societal level that they expect each agency to solve or contribute to solving.
- The Government continues to provide an external support function for the agencies' gender mainstreaming, but restricts the assignment of the support function to tasks that require its expertise.
- The Government focuses its resources and those of the support function to the agencies with the greatest potential to contribute to the gender equality policy goals.
- The Government uses the collective gender equality expertise of the Government Offices to continuously manage the agencies' work with gender mainstreaming.