The working group on “Emerging issues in drug policy” of the Civil Society Forum on Drugs identified the enhancement of the gender perspective in EU drug policy as one of the overarching categories where the CSFD could further contribute.
The first step towards this objective has been to review the extent to which a gender perspective is included in the EU Drug policy. In this report, we aim to describe how a gender perspective and gender-related aspects are included in both documents and provide an evaluation to this regard. Secondly, a comparison with the previous Strategy and Plan of Action was carried out to assess the evolution of said documents in relation to the gender perspective. Thirdly, the document includes a section referring to the CSFDs previous recommendations on the Strategy and Action Plan specifically on gender. The fourth part of this report includes a list of recommendations on how to enhance gender perspectives in drug-policy related documents in the future. Finally, the document provided links from different jurisdictions to best practices on implementation of gender perspective in drug policy.
Summary of recommendations for enhancing gender perspective in EU drug policy documents
- Mainstream gender within the policy documents: include gender transversally within all measures rather than as individual points. Gender mainstreaming should be understood as a long-term and transversal process as it will entail influencing the organizational structures, the economic and social contexts, and the political will. A gender perspective should permeate the policy documents.
- Develop more detailed recommendations that favour the implementation and incorporation of a gender perspective into the concrete design of structures, services, training programs for professionals.
- Promote a more gender-inclusive language throughout the documents.
- Place a stronger focus on training and capacity building for practitioners and civil society organizations who directly implement relevant policies and gender specific services.
- Continue reinforcing the priorities and actions to challenge stigma and address the many different needs and impacted areas in people’s lives, including education, social and economic issues and the justice system.
- Widen the scope of the policy formulations, to include persons from the LGBTQIA+ community, children whose parents or primary caregivers use drugs and reinforce the concept of intersectionality by considering people with intersecting axes of vulnerability such as elder people, people living in homelessness, etc.
- Add concrete actions and interventions to promote women and non- binary people specific services.
- Include the need for trauma-informed interventions and the need for comprehensive quality care for women who use drugs, women in recovery and women in situations of gender-based violence and coercive control. Add concrete actions and interventions to address gender-based violence involving dedicated training sessions and development and engagement with key professionals e.g law enforcement.
- Further develop tools and mechanisms to ensure that the policies are implemented on the ground. We recommend to add a reviewing mechanism in the Action Plan that mirror the references to women and gender in the strategy.
- Interventions should always be evaluated and monitored from a gender perspective, and measures indicated in the Strategy should be mirrored in the Action plan. To that end, they should ensure that data and indicators accompanying the policy documents are disaggregated by gender.