Indigenous Peoples are among the most marginalized and vulnerable groups in society and within indigenous communities, women are often the most disadvantaged sector. Although the status held by indigenous women varies from one community to another and from one region to another, they are confronted with multiple forms of discrimination as indigenous persons and as women.
Indigenous women experience racism and discrimination from dominant cultures and nation-states. In addition to discrimination based on their indigenous identities, they often also face socio-economic marginalization, disproportionately comprising the poorest segments of society. Ethnic and economic forms of discrimination are externally enforced by state agencies, legislative and executive government, dominant societal forces and others, resulting in the specific violation of the rights of indigenous women.
Indigenous women are also often discriminated within their society as they take on unequal share of domestic work, and are traditionally excluded from customary leadership positions, and at times, involvement in community affairs. Traditional male-dominated socio-political systems in many indigenous communities persist which exclude women from participating in decision-making, despite their important and indispensible role and contributions in sustainable resource management, food production and security, transfer of traditional knowledge, peace building and conflict resolution, meeting the basic needs of the family and community, strengthening social cohesion, and so on. Their almost non-existent participation in decision making in customary institutions and in related or corresponding state structure, reproduces and reinforces the discrimination that indigenous women are already experiencing.
Indigenous women, compared to indigenous men, have less access to education, basic health services and employment. The difficult conditions in indigenous communities in terms of basic social services are compounded by the traditional and general view that men are more deserving of education than women. Likewise, the reproductive health of indigenous women remains taboo in many indigenous societies. These conditions intersect, rendering indigenous women more vulnerable to illiteracy, health problems, inequality in opportunities and overall development.
The specific and multiple sources of discrimination combined are complex but require specific responses that must address not only their specific needs as women, but also their specific needs as indigenous women.
In recognition of this, AIPP’s Indigenous Women Programme is specifically focusing on empowering indigenous women to assert, promote and protect their rights as women and as Indigenous Peoples. However, the advancement of gender equality is the responsibility of all AIPP members, partners and staff. AIPP, as an indigenous rights advocacy organization, is concerned with equity and social justice in general, and we acknowledge that social justice cannot be realized without addressing challenges to gender equality and equity. AIPP therefore has to ensure that these principles are promoted and carried forward by its governance bodies, programmes and work ethics as a matter of practice and accountability, in addition to its specific program on indigenous women. In order to achieve this, this gender policy is thereby formulated.
For indigenous women, gender equality and empowerment refer to the enjoyment of both their individual and collective rights as Indigenous Peoples. As an organizational Policy, the AIPP Gender Policy consists of basic principles and operational guidelines that have to be carried out by the governing body and other mechanisms of the organization and adhered to by the members as a matter of accountability to the organization. In this Policy, gender equality encompasses both equality and equity. It constantly recognizes the intersecting challenges that obstruct the realization of indigenous women’s rights, which may require affirmative action.
AIPP recognizes other groups and sub-groups such as indigenous women and men with disabilities and indigenous members of the LGBTI community who are vulnerable to gender-based violence and discrimination. Therefore, when we refer to gender equality, we refer to, and address any form of inequality and intersectional discrimination stemming from a person’s gender, sex or sexual orientation and physical challenges.
Through the adoption of this Gender Policy, AIPP seeks to ensure that the principle of gender equality is consistently applied in all actions, including decision-making at all levels of the organization, and that there are standards which AIPP bearers and staff must uphold or be held accountable.
AIPP’s gender policy aims to ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment are ethical and political principles that shall guide the organization in its governance and programmes, and implementation mechanisms as well as the general work culture of the organization.
1. 1. Strategies
- A gender perspective is applied in all stages of programme and project development processes as follows:
- Applying a gender analysis in the project cycle, in planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, impact assessment
- Ensuring gender disaggregated data tools that are accessible and used for appropriate planning or program development, among others.
- Where appropriate, formulating measurable gender indicators and sex-disaggregated social and economic indicators and targets and conversely, assessing opportunities to reduce gender inequalities and inequities.
- Ensuring the equal participation of indigenous women and men regardless of sexual identity in project design, development implementation, and evaluation.
- Making necessary efforts to give indigenous women, particularly those who face compounded forms of marginalization the possibility to express themselves and be heard directly in all the different activities and programmes of the organization.
- A culturally and disability sensitive approach is applied in addressing gender AIPP respects the different roles, responsibilities, rights, obligations, knowledge and skills of men and women who are involved in or who are affected by AIPP’s programmes and projects. In this context, the specific needs and circumstances of indigenous women that affect their effective participation in AIPP activities shall be addressed.
- Where appropriate, examine how relevant national, regional and global laws, policies, programmes and institutions affect gender equity, and explore possibilities for promoting gender equity within these.
- Strengthen the programme on indigenous women, which includes capacity building and other forms of support to strengthen indigenous women’s organizations, groups and leaders.
- Conduct gender-awareness trainings for officers and staff and member organizations, as well as capacity building activities to address the issues and concerns of indigenous women.
- Strengthen the advocacy and mainstreaming of indigenous women’s rights and empowerment at all levels, in all the programmes of AIPP.
- Encourage involvement of male participants in all gender and women’s rights activities in all programmes of
- To provide support to member organizations on the implementation of this Gender Policy.
1.2. Operational Guidelines
1. 2. 1. The General Assembly shall
- Ensure gender balance in the delegation/representation of member organizations in the General Assembly.
- Elect a representative of indigenous women in the Executive Council who shall ensure the integration of women’s perspectives, views and concerns in the deliberations and decisions of the EC.
- Safeguard gender balance in the governance bodies and related mechanisms of AIPP.
- Ensure that the programmes of AIPP adopted by the GA reflect the strategies of this Gender Policy.
- Oversee the evaluation and review of the implementation of the Gender Policy.
- Promote this Gender Policy among member-organizations for them to undertake their best efforts to carry forward this Gender Policy within their Organization.
1.2.2. The Executive Council shall
- Ensure gender balance among AIPP’s staff and other coordination mechanisms (such as the Programme Committees) established by AIPP (adopted with the words “Programme Commuittee in Bracket)
- Ensure a child and disability friendly work environment that is supportive and accessible of diverse and specific needs of individual circumstances.
- Ensure that AIPP’s work culture in the Executive Council and the Secretariat is based on mutual respect, civility and shared key values of gender equality, good governance, accountability and transparency.
- Guarantee zero tolerance on all forms of violence in the Executive Council, Secretariat and other mechanisms and structures of the Sanctions shall be imposed by the EC on cases of this nature, subject to due process. Depending on the severity of the case, sanctions shall include, but not limited to strong warning, suspension, termination of contract, monetary compensation and legal action where appropriate.
- Ensure that a gender-sensitive approach is applied in the conduct of planning, monitoring, assessment and evaluation of AIPP programmes and activities.
- Formulate further guidelines where appropriate for the implementation of this Gender Policy.
1.2.3. The AIPP Secretariat Management Team shall
- Ensure that all staff members are aware of the AIPP Gender Policy and the need for respect in work and management styles, and that discriminatory practices are not tolerated, including gender stereotyping and all forms of violence.
- Act as the channel for any complaints relating to all forms of gender-based violence in the Complaints against members of the management team shall be submitted to the EC for their action.
- Ensure gender balance in all programmes and other activities; and address specific concerns of indigenous women, and women with compounded forms of marginalisation to facilitate their active participation. Along this line, the Secretariat reserves the right not to accept nominated participants if gender balance in AIPP activities is violated.
- Ensure gender-disaggregated data and the inclusion of indigenous women’s perspective, including those facing compounded forms of marginalization in all of the activities and programme outputs of the Secretariat.
- Ensure data disaggregation and inclusion of women’s perspective in the activities and programme reports of the Secretariat.
- Develop gender-sensitive approaches and methods of work including internal processes and standardised formats.
- Be responsible for coordinating progressively informative and engaging gender awareness trainings on different aspects and themes for members of the Secretariat, and to assess and review any ongoing needs in this area.
1.2.4. Programme Committee Members of the Indigenous Women Programme shall (Adopted subject to reviews of AIPP Constitution and Bylaws)
- Provide advice on programme development and implementation by taking into account the needs and priorities of indigenous women as well as the Gender Policy of AIPP.
- Work closely with the Programme Coordinator to promote the Gender Policy and programme of AIPP on indigenous women.
- Conduct assessment/evaluation of the implementation of the Gender Policy of AIPP.
- Provide inputs and comments related to gender mainstreaming in AIPP publications and related materials adopted.
- Make recommendations to the Management Team and Executive Council where appropriate on how to improve implementation of the AIPP Gender Policy.