Gender mainstreaming in action? The Scottish Structural and Investment Funding Program 2014-2020

Leanne Wilson, Jim Campbell


Since its inception, the European Union (EU) has been at the forefront of the promotion of gender equality. A key feature of the EUs approach to gender equality was the development and promotion of Gender Mainstreaming (GM) as an innovative approach to achieving gender equality. GM has been used as an approach to integrate gender into programme formulation, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation across the EU policy programmes, including the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), which plays a key role for both the inclusion and promotion of the contributions of women in economic development. GM is a well-researched gender equality strategy, however there is little consensus on its effectiveness and its ability to transform the policy paradigm and attempts to operationalise GM have been limited. Despite a large body of academic literature, there is limited recent research which links GM and the ESIF, specifically at a local level. Therefore, this article aims to do that by considering whether GM as part of regional development policy can be utilised as a tool for delivering transformative changes. Scotland’s approach to GM within the ESIF is analysed utilising process tracing and semi-structured interviews with ESIF stakeholders in Scotland. Key findings are outlined for the 2014-2020 funding period at the national and project level.


Gender Mainstreaming; Gender; Regional Policy; Scotland; European Union


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