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Abstract

This article assessed the major challenges and opportunities in the implementation of gender mainstreaming in local public sector offices. The study emphasized the women and children affairs offices in five selected woredas of Hadiya Zone, in SNNPR. The descriptive type of research was employed with mixed approaches to collect and analyze the data. The samples of five woredas were selected by using simple random sampling technique. The office of Women and Children Affair was selected purposively, on the basis of its bureaucratic responsibility to coordinate and monitor the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the Woredas. To get sufficient information on the issue, the study included all employees and managers of the office because of their smaller size. Hence, 212 respondents were included as sample of the study. The data was collected by distributing questionnaire for 200 employees and interviewing 12 key informants. For the issues needing further clarification, focus group discussions were held. Moreover, the secondary data was obtained through document reviews. The results were presented in simple descriptive statistical graphs and analyzed using frequency and percentages. Qualitative data was analyzed in the form of narration. The study revealed that the implementation gender mainstreaming is still unsatisfactory. The study also confirmed that lack of commitment from the managers, attitudinal problems of employees, lack of finance and lack of technical capacity of gender experts are the common challenges inhibiting the effective implementation of gender mainstreaming in the study woredas. On the other hand, the study identified that the existence young talents as gender focal persons, the suitable policies, guidelines, manuals, handbooks for fulfilling gender mainstreaming as critical opportunities.  In addition, the study noted that the increasing commitments of non-state actors to support gender mainstreaming activities are the major opportunities to be utilized to achieve the gender mainstreaming goals. Thus, it was recommended that regional level gender machineries should provide adequate guidance and support to the woredas by delivering gender training, disseminating information though guidelines, manuals, handbooks, so as to build their technical capacities required to ensure effective implementation of gender mainstreaming. The public sector managers at Woreda level should utilize the existing opportunities to put in place gender responsive organizational cultures by demonstrating their commitment through allocating adequate budgets to gender mainstreaming activities. Gender officers should play catalytic role to deepen the awareness, knowledge, commitment and capacity of all staff members. There should be close coordination and communication among the Regional, Zonal and Woredas level Gender Machineries through exchanging information and resources.  

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