Perspectives on gender mainstreaming in international cooperation in STI: A comparative study




Gender mainstreaming, international cooperation, STI international dialogues, gender research, comparative study


Gender equality is the fifth Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) goal. However, there are still global gaps to be addressed for leveraging science, technology, and innovation (STI) for achieving this goal. Countries and governments at all levels need to effectively utilize STI to help mobilize the global community to assist in gender mainstreaming. 

International cooperation encompasses a great diversity of countries, regions, dominant religions, and cultures in broad terms – and this is undoubtedly a relevant hinderance to a gender equality narrative. Even within most homogeneous areas, such as the European countries, different levels of awareness on gender issues still prevail, impacting the practical relevance of the problem. Many gender-related projects, actions, and policies aim to counteract this. However, there is no clear guidance on what is expected from the institutions about addressing gender equality to mainstream gender into international dialogues. Therefore, gender equality runs the risk of remaining a “good intention”. In addition, there is little explicit data on the gender dimension in international agreements.

The design for this study includes qualitative and quantitative data collected in the EU Horizon 2020 Gender STI. The framework is developed based on three main data sources collected from semi-structured interviews, an online survey, and a mapping exercise on gender equality in STI agreements in different regions worldwide. These sources, collected from more than 60 countries worldwide, allow data triangulation to validate the qualitative insights related to gender mainstreaming in STI. 

This paper offers critical insights on gender mainstreaming in international dialogues, which are becoming an essential instrument of change if cultural differences are considered. The institutional profile and professional culture are relevant to define each gender balance action's range and foster data production on the subject. Moreover, recent requirements in European funding instruments, such as Horizon Europe, have a broad impact on the international cooperation landscape, inducing a general institutional change and a reverse cultural bias.