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The ILO Participatory Gender Audit (PGA) is a powerful tool for introducing and managing institutional change. A PGA is a transformative process that yields knowledge, techniques and tools to develop skills, and changes in attitudes and behaviours.
It is a participatory method of promoting institutional learning and reinforcing an organization’s collective capacity to analyse its activities from a gender perspective, verifying its achievements and deficiencies.
The term “audit” should not be misunderstood: a PGA does not review or validate processes; rather, it combines objective observation of the facts and figures with a more in-depth reflection on qualitative standards, beliefs and opinions to assess the impact of these on gender equality, organizational culture and well-being; factors which, in turn, impact on efficiency, quality and productivity.
A PGA explores the different formal and informal dimensions of the life of an organization, inviting the people that work there on all levels to participate in an active, self-reflective process to change attitudes – and, where necessary, rules and procedures – so that organizations can be transformed into workplaces truly capable of responding to the needs and expectations of men and women alike, becoming “gender-friendly” and even “gender-transformative”.
It is not only a method of measuring a reference database in an organization but also the first step towards achieving a sustainable strategy for change, proposed and developed from within – from the organization’s individuals, work units and the organization as a whole – to finally have an impact on all of society.
The PGA is carried out by a facilitation team which engages in data compilation (at a distance), direct observation and dialogue with people in the organization (working at the headquarters of the institution audited for 1–2 weeks). Following group participation and collective discussion, a report is produced that describes the organization’s capacity to promote gender equality and diversity, indicating its strengths and weaknesses.
The PGA method adapts to the needs of the organization:
The audit process ends with the delivery of a final report to the management of the organization audited. Subsequent technical activity for planning and follow-up of the actions resulting from the Audit (list of recommendations: action plans, policies, standards, training programmes, and so on) is additional and defined separately from the audit itself.
Certification of facilitators of ILO participatory gender audits
The International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin, Italy offers training programmes (imparted in English, French, Spanish and Arabic) designed to certify facilitators of ILO participatory gender audits. The certification process ensures that the people awarded certificates achieve the quality standards necessary to steer a PGA correctly, thereby guaranteeing organizations that facilitators trained by the ILO comply with the quality standards set out by the International Training Centre of the ILO.
Since 2009, the Centre has had at its disposal an international database featuring more than 80 certified PGA facilitators. The certificate is valid for two years, and at least two audits must be performed in order for the certificate to be extended for an additional period of an equal duration.