progress made towards long-term policy goals and shorter-term objectives (benchmarks). Promising policies explicitly address issues of accountability in terms of policy implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
Evidence-based policies are required for legitimating an action framework as plan, rationale, and intervention. Accurate, credible, reliable, and valid data, act to both drive and inform promising policies, reflecting interactive and iterative processes. To that end, data must be engaged and disaggregated in ways consistent with the specification of the policy issue or problem. Thus, in the context of this project, data should be disaggregated not only by gender but also by citizenship, race, ethnicity, and other relevant socio-cultural, political, and economic characteristics. This applies to countries in the “developed” world as well as to those in the “developing” world. Such data provide a foundation from which policy can be developed and implemented. Furthermore, these data form the basis for policy evaluation and are the building blocks of adequate and appropriate indicators of policy efficacy at various points in time. In the same vein, data can provide real time feedback during implementation, enabling adjustments as warranted.
With gender equality as the ultimate goal, gender mainstreaming is a strategy for assessing the implications for women and men of policies and programs, treating gender perspectives as integral to the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programs in all political, economic, and social spheres (United Nations [UN] 1997). Accordingly, whether on the national, regional, or international level, promising policies have statements that explicitly tie gender mainstreaming to social and economic development. For example, rather than a general statement about the importance of educating all citizens for the good of the nation, promising policies clearly and unequivocally identify women as a specific policy category, stating that women must be educated in general—and, for our purposes, in STEM in particular—to enhance a country’s growth and international competitiveness.
Sustainability and Institutionalization
Sustainability and institutionalization are inextricably intertwined. Promising policies are sustainable—i.e., they can be maintained and supported over time relative to policy implementation, goals, and outcomes. In this sense, sustainable development policies meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (UN 1987). Thus, promising policies that focus on, for example, improving education for all, as well as enhancing women’s participation in science and technology, are strategies for more sustainable development (Cohen 2006). Promising policies are sufficiently flexible to adjust to economic, legal, social, and political changes in the policy environment. Moreover, such policies are institutionalized—i.e., they become part of the standard operating processes and procedures of an organization or country.