Gender Impact Accessment
Ministry of Gender Equality and Family

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
● Since the 1990s, accountability for gender equality in public administration has been on the main agenda for women’s policy and women’s movement in Korea. Yet, the accountability for gender equality has been regarded as something required for gender-related government agencies only. ● Since the mid-1990s, the socio-economic status of women in Korea has made a remarkable advancement following the implementation of the Basic Plan for Women’s Policy, the abolishment of the age-old patriarchal family system known as ‘hojuje’, the enforcement of active employment policies and the ban on discrimination against women in employment, and the implementation of the sexual violence elimination act and the domestic violence elimination act. However, the level of gender equality enhancement has not been sufficient to reflect the degree of social and economic development that Korea has experienced in general. - For example, there have been relatively tangible impacts in the public sector with the implementation of active policy measures. At the same time, feminization of poverty and feminization of non-regular, temporary work have taken place in Korea. Although the policy endeavors to increase jobs, in particular in the social service sector, were emphasized as a solution to rising unemployment due to economic recessions, women had a limited access to specific jobs as caregivers or educational assistants. ● Despite the relative enhancement of women’s status, the deep-rooted gender stereotypes, patriarchal cultures, and discriminatory practices in Korea restricted the role of women’s policy. Many gender-related policies and programs that aimed at transforming the male-oriented policy structures had only limited impacts in a special context. As a consequence, this undermined women’s rights to be treated as equal members of society.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
● Since the Fourth United Nations World Women’s Conference in 1995, gender experts and women’s activists began deliberating on GIA. - The first step to institutionalize GIAs was the adoption of the Framework Act on Women’s Development in 2002, which laid legal grounds for implementation of GIAs. In 2005, when the Gender Impact Assessment Initiative was introduced to a number of government projects, GIAs began to be institutionalized. ● Despite such institutional progress, there was a growing notion that the GIA initiative did not lead to substantial policy improvement. - Therefore, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and a network of female members of the National Assembly took initiatives for in-depth analysis and the Ministry, gender experts, and non-government organization workers prepared a detailed policy framework. - As a consequence of such efforts, the Act on Gender Impact Assessment was legislated in 2011. The Act stipulated policies and organizations with mandatory GIAs and required that evaluation results should be incorporated in policy making. < Outline of the Initiative> ● The objective of the initiative is to achieve de-facto gender equality by making improvements in discriminatory practices through holistic and systematic analyses on the impacts of government policies on different genders. ● Beneficiaries: The general public in the Republic of Korea ● Contents: Gender characteristics and gender gaps in social and economic circumstances are taken into consideration during policy making process of the policies, plans, and legislations. - Public servants in each government agency conduct GIAs on relevant projects, legislations and regulations. Experts provide consultations on the overall process of assessment and analysis. ● The initiative has its legal foundation on the Act on Gender Impact Assessment. ● Programs and policies subject to GIAs include legislations, regulations, ordinances and guidelines set by the National Assembly and the government. According to the Act on Gender Impact Assessment, projects that last longer than three years are required to have GIAs. These also include major policy schemes of the central government ministries and projects that rely on the public budget in local and regional government organizations. ● Participating organizations: Government ministries at the national level and local and regional government organizations.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The Gender Impact Assessments has a number of special characteristics that reveal innovation and creativity. ● Making legal obligations - Considering public officials’ interests in their legal obligations, the policies, organizations, and duties relating to the GIAs were set out in laws. - To raise public servants’ capabilities for evaluation and analysis, the relevant laws required that they should fulfill proper education relating to the matter. ● Introduction of the Special GIAs - For major policy areas with greater gender gaps, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family adopted special GIAs to conduct an in-depth analysis. ● Strengthening the system of evaluation - To enhance the accountability, the check system has been strengthened for the organization subject to GIAs or a new partnership has been established for the evaluation process. - For example, central government organizations are required to report their progress to the National Assembly and the evaluation of local government agencies work is connected to the comprehensive government evaluation conducted by the Ministry of Security and Public Administration.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
● Progress of implementation - The articles on GIAs were first introduced in the Framework Act on Women’s Development in 2002. First pilot projects were implemented on 10 projects by 9 organizations. - The GIA initiative was expanded to central government agencies and regional government organizations in 2005. The number of participating organizations and projects increased from 53 organizations and 85 projects in 2005 to 292 organizations and 2,954 projects in 2011. - The initiative began to be applied to local government agencies in 2006 and the regional and local offices of education in 2007. - The Act on the Gender Impact Assessment was enacted on September 15, 2011. . The Act mandates that all new and revised legislation, mid- and long-term plans, and major government programs should be subject to an ex-ante gender analysis. Prior to the act, only limited numbers of programs were subject to GIAs. In March 2012, specific guidelines for the Act on the Gender Impact Assessment were introduced. ● Detailed process of the initiative [Central government agencies:] - The department in charge of GIAs in each agency submits a checklist for GIAs on relevant legislations, mid- and long-term projects over three years, major policy schemes to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF). - The MOGEF reviews the submitted checklist to make a decision on whether the project is exempt from the GIA reports and notifies the results. When the project falls in the exemption category, the process ends here. The criteria for exemption from GIA reports are outlined in the checklist form of the Guidelines for GIAs. - When required, a GIA report is completed and submitted from the relevant departments to the Ministry. - The MOGEF responds with feedback. Opinions from the Ministry are divided into two categories: approval on the initial report and the suggestions for improvement. - The department revises its report and submits the final report. When the MOGEF informed suggestions for improvement, the department applies the suggestions and reports the revised plan to the Ministry. [Local and regional government institutions:] - The department in charge if GIAs in a local or regional government agency submits a checklist for GIAs to the Gender Impact Assessment Officer assigned for the agency. Usually, the Gender Impact Assessment Officer is a director-general level public servant appointed by the head of local/regional government. - The Gender Impact Assessment Officer reviews the submitted checklist and makes a decision on whether the project is exempt from the GIA reports. When the project falls in the exemption category, the process ends here. The criteria for exemption from GIA reports are outlined in the checklist form of the Guidelines for GIAs. - When required, a GIA report is completed and submitted from the relevant departments to the Officer. - The Gender Impact Assessment Officer responds with feedback on the reports. - The department revises its report and submits a final report to the Officer. [The Comprehensive GIA report] - Central government agencies and local and regional government organizations report their annual outcomes on GIAs to the Minister of Gender Equality and Family in the following year. - Based on these reports, the Minister presents the results in the cabinet meeting and submits the comprehensive GIA report to the National Assembly. [Special Gender Impact Assessments] - For central, regional and local government projects that are closely related to the enhancement of women’s status, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family conducts the special GIAs and informs the outcomes to the agencies in charge of the projects.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
● Central government agencies and local and regional government organizations conducted gender impact assessments on their projects and the results of assessments were mirrored in further policy making. - The heads of central government agencies and local/regional government organizations appointed one of their staff members as Gender Impact Assessment Officer. The gender impact assessment officers at local and regional government organizations have responsibilities to review and provide feedback on the initial GIA reports and make suggestions on improving the projects. ● The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family oversees the whole process of reviewing the GIA reports and providing the feedback for the central government agencies. It also offers consulting services and hosts a number of education programs. ● The Korean Institute for Gender Equality Promotion and Education provided education and training programs on GIAs for public officials in charge of GIAs and the gender impact assessment officers. ● The Gender Impact Assessment Centers: The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family designated national and public research institutes and research centers at universities as Gender Impact Assessment Centers. There are 17 Gender Impact Assessment Centers, 16 at regional level and 1 at central government level. The Centers provide consulting services to relevant agencies and organizations working on GIAs.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
● As of 2013, the total budget of 2.1 million USD was spent on the operation of the Gender Impact Assessment Centers, research on GIAs, and special GIAs. ● The Gender Impact Assessment Centers - There are approximately 50 gender expert working at the Gender Impact Assessment Centers in the central government and 16 local areas. 250 experts in gender impact assessment trained in different policy fields are affiliated with 17 centers to support work of public servants on GIAs. ● The Online GIA System (http://gia.mogef.go.kr) - The overall process of gender impact assessment is conducted on the website: creation of checklist/gender impact assessment reports, provision of feedback and reviews on the reports, and submission of revised reports after the review. - The information on current status and statistics are provided on the website. - Online consulting services offered by experts in the online system.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
● In 2013, 20,372 projects conducted gender impact assessments. - These are divided into 12,740 GIAs on legislations; 125 mid- and long-term projects; and 7,507 government programs. - The increase in the number of projects under GIAs from 2,954 in 2011 to 14,792 in 2012 can be attributed to the enforcement of the Act on Gender Impact Assessment in 2012. ● The results of GIA reports show that 13,957 projects (68.5 percent of total) gained approval on the initial reports while 3,306 projects (16.2 percent of total) received recommendations for improvement. There were 3,109 projects (15.3 percent of total) that were exempt from gender impact assessment reports. The high level of initial approval was possible because many projects sought policy improvement measures in the first stage of writing the GIA reports. For legislations and regulations, their comprehensive traits provided less gender-related problems, which led to higher level of initial approval. ● Many revised their reports according to the feedback and opinions provided on their initial reports. - Among 3,306 projects, 2,773 reports (83.9 percent) reflected on the feedback and revised their schemes.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
● The establishment of online GIA system (http://gia.mogef.go.kr) - The overall process of gender impact assessment (1) submission of checklist/gender impact assessment reports → (2) receipt of the feedback and reviews on the reports →(3) submission of revised reports after the review) is operated in the online system. Each stage provides online consulting services. In the online GIA system, all the relevant processes of GIA are shared with stakeholders, statistic data are produced, and outcomes of education are monitored. ● The Committee on Gender Impact Assessments - The Vice Minister of Gender Equality and Family is the chair of the Committee on Gender Impact Assessments, which consists of 15 members from the Ministry of Strategy and Planning, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Security and Public Administration, and the private sector. - The committee evaluates and coordinates GIA policy. Its quarterly meetings provide an arena for discussion on yearly schemes and reviews. Also, members discuss various ways to increase inter-governmental cooperation in the meetings. ● The annual report on gender impact assessment - Central government agencies and local and regional government organizations report their annual outcomes relating to GIAs to the Minister of Gender Equality and Family each year. Based on these reports, the Minister submits comprehensive GIA report to the National Assembly. From 2014, the results are open to public following the revision of the law. - The National Assembly can require other information on GIAs when necessary and provide audits and reviews on the initiative.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
● Lack of understanding and awareness concerning GIAs by public servants was the major obstacle. - During the introductory stage, the initiative was not substantially implemented due to lack of interest and knowledge by public officials at both central and regional levels. They had troubles when identifying suitable projects for GIAs and writing gender impact assessments reports. - To address this problem and to ensure objectivity in the selection process, MOGEF has provided a checklist for selecting GIA projects. - In addition, the Ministry has provided training for public servants to raise their awareness on GIAs and equip them with practical skills knowledge to help them carry out GIA-related duties. - Finally, the Ministry has made efforts to enhance public awareness on GIAs by publishing a book on the best practices and by strengthening policy advertisement through the Internet platforms and traditional media coverage. ● Lower level of public awareness and participation: - To reflect women’s needs and demands on women’s policy making, some regions created ‘the monitoring group for gender mainstreaming’ that engages homemakers, female students, and women’s rights activists. The Gender Impact Assessment Centers are taking initiatives. - During the selection process of programs for special gender impact assessments, the partnership-based resources such as public contests that emphasize citizens’ participation are widely used by the government.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
● The initiative contributed to the improvement of policies by setting up a systematic framework with the Act of Gender Impact Assessment and related guidelines. - The Ministry of Strategy and Finance revised ‘The Ordinance on Value-added Tax’ and distinguished the reconstructive surgery after an initial breast surgery from plastic surgery and exempted value-added taxes (February 15, 2013). - The Ministry of Security and Public Administration revised ‘The Ordinance on the Use of Public Restrooms’ to increase women’s accessibility to restrooms by increasing the ratio of the number of toilets to 1:1.5 in men’s and women’s restrooms in resting areas on the highways (October 16, 2013). - The Ministry of Justice revised ‘The Ordinance on the Act on Refugees’ to acknowledge serious gender disparity in his/her country of origin as a reason for seeking asylum and began to provide a translator of the same-sex when an asylum-seeker desires (June 21, 2013). - The City Government of Sacheon revised its ‘Work-related Regulations for Cleaners’ and allowed cleaning workers to have both maternity leave and paternity leave. Also, it expanded the application of maternity leave to people who experienced miscarriage and stillbirth. - The Metropolitan Government of Seoul improved the walking environment in the city by preparing guidelines on the design of sidewalks including the width and height of the sidewalks and by making more shelters to enable people to take rest whenever they want. - Local government in Dong-gu, Daejeon provided security classes tailored to women and children to prevent accidents in homes as the provision of male-oriented security education aimed at people who completed their mandatory military services had been creating gender gaps. ● GIAs are no longer conducted on policies traditionally affecting women only, such as welfare, education and employment, but also on policies in all other fields, from community development, to civil engineering, and to transportation policies.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
● The Act on Gender Impact Assessment stipulates concrete responsibilities and process of GIAs and provides a sustainable legal framework. - In addition, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family established the Department of Gender Impact Assessments to oversee issues relating to legislations and guidelines on GIAs and to coordinate policy making. - Each of the central government agencies, regional and local government organizations, and regional offices of education has assigned one of its staff members as Gender Impact Assessment Officer to be in charge of related duties. ● The GIA initiative is transferable to other contexts. Currently, the Ministry is working to provide education on the initiative and to disseminate the initiative in developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region including Indonesia, and Vietnam.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
● The extensive use of GIAs contributes to the strengthened accountability of government on gender equality and provides a channel to incorporate women’s policy needs into public policy making. The education programs and workshops provided by the government are effective in raising public awareness. Yet, government’s sensitivity to the issue and increased awareness by public officials are not sufficient to make real changes. Therefore, the role of law, institution, and budgeting is emphasized to provide stronger framework for change. ● Policy improvement process takes time. Without long-term monitoring and evaluation, it is hard to expect policy effects. The standardization of process enabled by the online GIAs system has the potential to encourage policy improvement activities. By compiling the relevant information, knowledge on the issue can be mutually advanced, which can result in policy improvement. - To ensure that actual policy improvements take place, the government is conducting primary and secondary evaluation of GIAs. In 2014, the government conducted tertiary evaluation of projects initiated by the central government agencies. - Continuous management on the projects under improvement is necessary in making policy improvement effects. ● The accountability for gender equality in public administration is a value-oriented notion that might conflict with the demands for economic growth and the trends of specialization in public administration. Thus, it is important to raise public awareness on the reality of women in Korea by engaging more citizens and civic organizations in policy making and incorporate public needs and interests in actual policy.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Gender Equality and Family
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Joengae Lee
Title:   Deputy Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   +82 2-2100-6172
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   leeja73@korea.kr  
Address:   209 Sejong-daero Jongno-gu
Postal Code:   110-760
City:   Seoul
State/Province:  
Country:  

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