Need Suggestion for my master's thesis - Gender Evaluation?

Dear All,

I am a masters student from the Social Studies of Gender program. For my master's thesis, I am planning to do a evaluation of a mentropship program, which is a project that runs by an ngo and the target group is women with foreign background, to see its impact on women's empowerment.

The aim of the project is to assist women to get a job or internship as there are statistic showing women with foreign background takes longer time to find a job when compare to men with foreign background.

I am struggling to define the theoretical framework of this evaluation, as I would really love to apply a gender prespective in this evaluation.

I am planning to do a small survey, and interviews with the program participants, as well as find a group of women with similar backgroup to do the comparation so I can see if the program makes any impact.

As I am very new to the area of evaluation, it would be great if any of you could give me some suggestions on how to approach it, you feedbacks, or anything!!

Thanks in advance :)

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Dear Kari, This looks a beautiful topic to work on. However, to be guided on what kind of theoretical framework to use, it would be better to share the topic of your study and the concept note. Or better still, share the main objectives of the study and the study questions. This way, it would be easy to guide you on what frameworks are available in which areas, and whether or not one theoretical framework is sufficient for your study, or if you need complementary frameworks and with what justification. I hope this would be able to guide you further on what to share! Thank you!

Dear Kari, I agree with Ponge, we need to get your research questions to define the scope of your study and share with you the frameworks that exist.  For your literature review AWARD (African Women in Agricultural Research and Development) has completed a study on mentorship. Could be of good use to read. Best wishes in your study.

Dear Adeline, Thanks for your reply. The research question is How does the mentorship program have impact on women's empowerment and gender eqaulity, and there also a few sub-questions, such as what are the barriers for women, how to improve the program, etc. Thanks for the reading suggestions.

Dear Awuor, thanks for your reply! The main objective is to find out the if the program is providing who the women need, and if it has any impact on women's empowerment. It aims to give voice to women to share their expereinces. So far, I have been conceptualizing empowerment based on Naila Kabeer's idea of empowerment.

Dear Kari,

This guidance on integration of gender and human rights in evaluations in the United Nations system could be useful to provide you some methodological suggestions:

http://www.uneval.org/document/detail/1616

Best regards,

Sabas.

Thanks Sabas!

I would suggest that you look up the work on intersectionality in the US by Kimberle Crenshaw (especially 1991 and 1992) and consider feminist economics and migration studies.

Remember that gender is not the only dimension of identity that is salient here, and that it is not operating in a vacuum. In most countries, occupations are stratified by gender as well as race, and inevitably skill and educational level, but also influenced by proficiency in the local language, work/ documentation status, and other factors. If the jobs expected of and available to men within particular skill levels and racial groups--such as those involving physical labor in manufacturing--are more plentiful or more widely accessible (openly advertised, etc.), men of a foreign background may get a job sooner than women from the same group. Perhaps the jobs expected of women from the same group, e.g., domestic labor, are not advertised but spread through word of mouth. That's why educational level, prior work experience, and work/ documentation status are pivotal to look at.

Also influential are marital status, number and ages of children/ family composition, and childcare options (do women who do not have childcare needs or whose needs are being met by "free" labor from older children or other relatives have the same difficulty as women with only young children and no relatives)? Men may find work faster because they have a wife looking after the children and home. Once the male partner in a marriage is employed, women may have a harder time looking for if appropriate childcare is not available/ accessible. They may have waited intentionally until their partner was employed--knowing it would be easier for him or that he would make more money, or because of gendered divisions of labor at home, e.g., thinking that he would not care for the children while she looked for work or worked and that appropriate childcare would be financially and otherwise inaccessible (culturally/ linguistcally, in terms of distance/ transportation, etc). They may have waited until he earned some income that could be applied to childcare. That individual- or couple-level decision may have deliberately been made in response to family, institutional, and societal conditions that are shaped by patriarchy but also by other systems of oppression (capitalism, white supremacy, xenophobia).

Then there is also the possibility of discriminatory hiring. Unemployed men and women of foreign background are both likely to have similarly small social networks/ capital, but that would have to be tested on the participants themselves. Are the skills, including job-seeking skills, that men bring from their country of origin more transferable to the local context than women's? Are men and women with similar demographic characteristics applying for the same types of jobs at the same rate? Are their applications and interviews comparable? If you compare apples to apples, are men being hired by both men and women at a rate higher than women?

My suspicion is that if so, that would be the culmination of a long succession of more insidious structural, institutional, and family level dynamics that systematically disadvantage women, and it may vary by group. In the USA, there are immigrant and refugee women of color who are considered less threatening than men from the same groups and whose skills are more immediately income-generating; they become the primary earner for the family (often live in extended families, where childrearing is shared). This does not mean the family escapes poverty, though, as women's "unskilled" work benefits others but pays little.

Hope this is what you were looking for.

Vidhya Shanker

Dear Vidhya, Thanks for your reply! It is very helpful!

After a few interviews, it seems like the women do not realize "gender" is a issue to prevent them to enter the labor market, but they do think that it might be a problem for other women. However, there is still traces that they are facing some kind of gendered experiences which infinfluence their choice.

Dear Kari,

In order to be able to assess the impact of the project on the beneficiaries, you would ideally need a control group [i.e. women who have not benefitted from the project]. And as per Vidhya Shanker's comment, women are not a homogeneous category and thus the need to take into consideration other socio-cultural-economic aspects that may influence women's access to employment opportunities.  

Best of Luck,

Nite

Dear Nite, Thanks for your reply! I realized control group is a good way to begin with but due to time limit, it is very different to apply this method.

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