Gender Mainstreaming

Sexual and Reproductive Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" to denote sexual wellbeing, encompassing the ability of an individual to have responsible, satisfying and safe sex and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.

Gender mainstreaming is the integrating of gender equality perspective at all stages and levels of policies, programmes and projects.

Gender mainstreaming


To improve the quality of life of all men, women and children including those with disabilities through enhanced reproductive health services and accurate information.

Broad Objectives:

The departments broad objectives are:

• Reduce maternal mortality and perinatal mortality rates.
• Reduce the prevalence of STIs/HIV.
• Limit all forms of gender-based violence and other harmful practices.
• Reduce the incidence of reproductive cancers and infertility.
• Increase contraceptive prevalence rate.
• Promote RH services for persons with disabilities especially women and children.

Gender mainstreaming was established as a major global strategy for the promotion of gender equality in the Beijing Platform for Action from the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

A society’s wellbeing depends on ensuring that all its members feel that they have a stake in it and do not feel excluded from the mainstream. Every individual is entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy civil, economic, social, cultural, and political developments in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized. This requires all groups, and particularly the most vulnerable, to have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being.

Achieving greater equality between women and men, boys and the girl child will require changes at all levels, including changes in attitudes and relationships, in institutions and legal frameworks, in economic institutions, and political decision-making structures.

Gender Mainstreaming and women empowerment have the same goal and the two strategies are complementary in a very real sense as gender mainstreaming must be carried out in a manner that is empowering for women. The empowerment of women concerns women gaining power and control over their own lives. It involves awareness-raising, building self-confidence, expansion of choices, increased access to and control over resources and actions to transform the structures and institutions which reinforce and perpetuate gender discrimination and inequality. Its inputs to promote the empowerment of women and the girl child should facilitate female articulation of their needs and priorities and give a more active role in promoting their interests. Empowerment of women and the girl child cannot be achieved in a vacuum; men and boys must be brought along in the process of change.

Promoting gender equality is now globally accepted as a development strategy for reducing poverty levels among women/girls and men/boys, improving health and living standards, and enhancing the efficiency of public investments. The attainment of gender mainstreaming is not only seen as an end in itself or human rights issue but as a prerequisite for the achievement of sustainable development.

Gender mainstreaming is a development approach and a tool for achieving economic reform, which includes evidence-based planning, value re-orientation, and social transformation. The recognition of gender issues is central and critical to the achievement of national development goals. It should be seen as a requirement for all policies; to reflect gender mainstreaming implications and strategies as contained in the gender policy and implementation modalities specified in the National gender framework.

HANDS is venturing into gender mainstreaming, an essential for securing human rights and social justice for women and the girl child as well as men and boys in Nigeria. It also increasingly recognizes that incorporating gender perspectives in different areas of development will ensure the effective achievement of other social and economic goals. Mainstreaming can reveal a need for changes in goals, strategies and, actions to ensure that both women and men, boys and girls can influence, participate in and benefit from development processes.