This program is part of the long-standing Knowledge Networking and Capacity Development Program undertaken by GEM-IWG on global and regional scales. GEM- IWG was founded in 1994 as a research group in order to carry out theoretical, empirical and policy–focused research in the area of gender, macroeconomics, international trade and finance. This initially small group of economists produced the first examples of research on gender, macroeconomics and macroeconomic policies and international economics at the theoretical, empirical and policy levels. The group’s work demonstrated that structural adjustment and macroeconomic stabilization policies are gender-biased and anti-poor. The group also advocated gender-equitable and pro-poor macroeconomic policies. In 2003, in response to growing interest and advocacy in this area by policy makers and civil society organizations, GEM-IWG launched its Knowledge Networking and Capacity Building Programmes. The objective was to strengthen the existing capacities among economists in order promote gender-informed teaching in academia; policy-relevant research among economists especially located in the global South; and to expand the scope of the research work. The Programs consisted of Summer Institutes, international conferences, formation of thematic research groups, publication of a working paper series, and included the formation of regional groups as well and a country level group GEM- Turkey. As a result, GEM- IWG was built into a global knowledge network of over 400 economists from academia, governments, international agencies, research institutions and NGOs from 70 countries. (For details please see www.genderandmacro.org).
The Summer Institutes are the central mechanism through which the network was expanded. During the Summer Institutes, a 10-day intensive workshop is held. In each cycle around 30 economists are chosen from a pool of applicants to be a Fellow of the Program. Prior to the workshop, the Fellows are provided with self-study materials and are also asked to prepare presentations and materials to share during the workshop. The workshop has 4-5 organizing instructors as well as additional 15-20 instructors who are renowned researchers in the area of gender and macroeconomics. During the workshop, both the instructors and the Fellows make presentations, share knowledge and formulate new research projects by identifying gaps in existing knowledge. The workshops are followed by a public conference or symposium. From the beginning, it was envisioned that the Fellows of each cycle return to present and share their work during subsequent cycles, and they engage in processes that facilitate further sharing and spreading the knowledge they have gained with other economists in their regions and their countries. The expectation has been that they become mentors to others in the area of gender and macroeconomics and suggest strong candidates for Fellowship for the subsequent cycles of the Program. Many Fellows have returned as instructors in subsequent cycles as well as bringing in new colleagues into the network. The network has been expanding through a “chain letter” model. Many Fellows have also organized workshops in their own countries. Those in academia have incorporated the study materials into the curricula in their own institutions. Thus, the reach of the network goes beyond the members, and there are mechanisms built into the Knowledge Networking Programme to make sure the network is a “living network” that continues to expand. We firmly believe that knowledge production has to be an inclusive process and non- hierarchical. In that sense, the work of GEM- IWG is different from traditional “training”, which often involves one-time interaction between the trainers and trainees. It is also different from the more traditional forms of “training of trainers”. We view everyone as equal participants in the knowledge production process.
The network is organized at the global level, regional and country levels. The regional groups include GEM- LAC, GEM- Asia, GEM- Africa, GEM- MENA. Members of the regional groups are also members of the global network. Since 2006, regional networks have also been organizing capacity development programmes in various regions tailoring their Knowledge Networking programs for their regional contexts. So far the network has organized ten international conferences, five global Summer Institutes (in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 at the University of Utah; and in 2009 at the Levy Economics Institute along with six regional ones (please see www.genderandmacro.org for details). GEM-LAC has organized three Institutes in Spanish (in Mexico in 2006; in Costa Rica in 2007; in Argentina in 2010) and GEM-Asia has organized two Summer Institutes (in the Philippines in 2010 and in Japan in 2011).
GEM- Europe, formed in 2009, organized its first Institute in cooperation with GEM- IWG and GEM–Turkey in Istanbul (October 9-17, 2011 consisting of a six-day workshop and a one-day public symposium. (Please see www.gem-europe.org for further details). The Programme was supported by and organized in partnership with the Heinrich Boell Foundation, The Global Fund for Women, IDRC, UNDP, UN Women and the ILO. Istanbul Technical University’s Women’s Studies Centre was the host Institution.
For the purposes of GEM- Europe, we define “Europe” in an expanded definition to include CIS and CEES countries. In that sense, the region “Europe” includes many different types of economies ranging from Scandinavian countries which have the best indicators of gender equality in the world to transition and emerging market economies in Eastern and Southern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The countries emphasized in the 2011 cycle were Eastern European and Southern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.