How to Formulate Gender-Sensitive Legislation: Insights from Global Leaders

gender-sensitive parliaments

In a recent webinar, I had the honor of hosting and facilitating a discussion on how to formulate gender-sensitive legislation. This insightful session featured distinguished panelists from around the world, including Honorable Members of Parliament and experts in gender equality and legislative processes.

Our esteemed panelists were:

- Hon. Sahar Albazar: Member of Parliament, Egypt. Deputy Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee at the Egyptian House of Representatives.

- Hon. Priscilla Nyokabi Kanyua: Former Member of Parliament, Kenya. Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and Human Rights Lawyer.

- Hon. Dr. Betty Krosbi Nana Efua Mensah: Member of Parliament, Ghana. Deputy Ranking Member on the Gender, Children and Social Protection Committee.

- Hon. Peggy Nash: Former Member of Parliament, Canada. Co-instructor of the Women in the House program and the Institute for Democratic Leadership at Toronto Metropolitan University.


Key Takeaways from the Webinar:


  1. Understanding Gender Sensitivity in Legislation

- Conducting Gender Impact Assessments: Assess how proposed laws affect different genders differently. This ensures that the legislation does not inadvertently disadvantage any gender.

- Inclusive Drafting Committees: Ensure that drafting committees include a diverse representation of genders to provide balanced perspectives and insights.


Practical Example from Egypt:

Egypt has implemented gender-sensitive legislation such as the 2014 Constitution, which includes several articles promoting gender equality and protecting women's rights. Article 11 mandates that the state guarantees equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Additionally, the National Council for Women in Egypt conducts regular gender audits to assess the impact of existing and proposed legislation.


  1. Engaging Stakeholders and Civil Society

- Public Consultations: Organize forums and public hearings to gather input from various stakeholders. This helps to understand the real-world implications of proposed legislation.

- Partnerships with CSOs: Collaborate with civil society organizations that have expertise in gender issues to provide insights and recommendations.


Practical Example from Kenya:

Kenya's Constitution (2010) enshrines gender equality, with Article 27(8) requiring that no more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender. The Gender Equality Act (2011) further enforces these principles. Kenya has also seen successful collaboration with NGOs in drafting gender-sensitive policies, such as the Protection Against Domestic Violence Act (2015), developed in consultation with various civil society organizations.


  1. Building Capacity and Awareness

- Training Programs: Implement training for parliamentarians and legislative staff on gender analysis and gender mainstreaming.

- Knowledge Sharing: Facilitate the exchange of best practices and experiences between countries to learn from successful gender-sensitive legislative initiatives.


Practical Example from Ghana:

Ghana's Affirmative Action Bill, which is currently under consideration, aims to promote gender equality by ensuring women's participation in political, public, and economic life. The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection conducts regular training sessions and workshops to build the capacity of legislators and civil servants in gender mainstreaming and gender-responsive budgeting.


  1. Institutionalizing Gender-Sensitive Practices

- Gender Budgeting: Incorporate gender perspectives in budgetary processes to ensure that resource allocation supports gender equality objectives.

- Monitoring and Evaluation: Establish mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the impact of legislation on different genders, making adjustments as necessary.


Practical Example from Canada:

Canada has been a pioneer in gender-responsive budgeting. Since 2018, the Canadian government has implemented Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in the development of all policies, programs, and legislation. The Canadian Gender Budgeting Act (2018) mandates the Minister of Finance to report on how budget measures impact gender equality. This practice has helped to ensure that federal budgets address the diverse needs of Canadians.



Formulating gender-sensitive legislation is a complex but crucial task that requires deliberate effort and collaboration. By conducting thorough gender impact assessments, engaging diverse stakeholders, building capacity, and institutionalizing gender-sensitive practices, we can create laws that promote equality and inclusivity.

This webinar provided a valuable platform for sharing knowledge and experiences, and it is clear that there is much to learn from each other as we strive to achieve gender equality in our legislative processes.

For more insights and updates on gender-sensitive legislation and related topics, connect with The Smart Woman Consulting.