Gender Audits: Participatory gender audits to strengthen the incorporation of gender perspectives in Ministries of Labor

Gender equity
Event date: 
10/03/2011 to 09/11/2013

This was a pioneering initiative for the region that sought to support Ministries of Labor in their efforts to mainstream gender in their operations, policies, and programs. It was part of the commitment of the OAS, CIM, and ILO to support institutional strengthening in this area and relied on financing from the Canadian Labour Program.

Through the project, Participatory Gender Audits were carried out in the Ministries of Labor of three countries: Barbados, El Salvador and Peru. The main objectives included: offering a comprehensive assessment of the situation of each Ministry with regard to gender mainstreaming, identifying good internal practices and recommendations, and the development of a Plan of Action to continue strengthening their gender efforts.
Among the main results, the following can be highlighted: inaugurating the Unit for Gender Equity in the Ministry of Labor of El Salvador, advancing efforts to include a gender perspective in documents and programs along with laying the groundwork for the creation of a Gender Team in the Ministry of Labor of Barbados, and strong and concrete recommendations as to how and where to establish a gender focal point in the Ministry of Labor of Peru to lead gender mainstreaming efforts.


This initiative responds to the “Strategic Guidelines for advancing gender equality and non-discrimination within a decent work framework” approved by the XV Inter-American Conference of Ministries of Labor (IACML) in 2005 and is part of the efforts of the OAS, CIM, and ILO aimed at strengthening gender mainstreaming in the Ministries of Labor of the region.


Audit and Plan of Action in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of BARBADOS

  • The first audit completed in a Ministry of Labor in the Americas was carried out in the Ministry of Labour of Barbados between October 3 and 14, 2011 with the support of a team of five specialists and consultants from the OAS and ILO. The result is a complete report with findings, best practices, and specific recommendations for each area in the Ministry.
  • Once the Audit Report was reviewed and approved by the Ministry, a second technical assistance visit was made by the OAS and ILO team from May 7 to 11, 2012 in which a Plan of Action to continue strengthening a gender focus was produced.

Audit and Plan of Action in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare of EL SALVADOR

  • The second audit was completed in the Ministry of Labor of El Salvador from February 27 to March 9, 2012 under the title “Practicing what we Preach” (“Predicando con el ejemplo”), and resulted in a complete report with findings, best practices, and recommendations that included how gender is reflected in the objectives, programs, and budget of the Ministry, how gender equality is incorporated in the execution of programs, and strategies to build competencies in the area of gender in the Ministry, among others.
  • Afterwards and again with the support of specialists from the ILO and OAS, from July 23 to 27, 2012, a Plan of Action was developed that provided for activities, assigned responsibilities, and established timelines to continue encouraging a gender focus in the Ministry. As part of the Ministry's efforts, the recent creation of the Unit for Gender Equality is particularly noteworthy.

Audit and Plan of Action in the Ministry of Labor of PERU

Between November 12 and 23, 2012, a Participatory Gender Diagnostic took place in the Ministry of Labor and Employment Promotion of Peru. Applying the methodology designed for this type of exercise, the Facilitating Team conducted interviews and workshops in which a large number of people participated, activities which were complemented with a thorough documentary analysis before and during the development of diagnostic exercise. As a result of the systematization and analysis of information, main findings, best practices and recommendations were identified to ensure the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the Ministry of Labor and Employment Promotion, both at the institutional level and for each specific area. As follow-up to this first visit, a second activity took place from September 9 to 11, 2013, to offer technical support in producing the Work Plan as means to identify the area in the Ministry that would be best suited to take on this portfolio.

Details about the exercise of the Audits

The duration of the Audit was 10 business days (2 weeks), in which the OAS-ILO team of experts (from 2 to 4 members) traveled to the given Ministry and carried out group and individual interviews, offered participatory workshops for subgroups, and, using a participatory methodology, produced a report with assessments and recommendations.

Audit results are confidential and their only purpose is to serve the Ministry in advancing its gender agenda.

After each audit, a Plan of Action was produced. To that end, the team of experts returned to the Ministry to develop the Plan in a participatory framework.