New page on gender analysis on BetterEvaluation

Hope some of you find this useful!

Intro states:

Whether you are an evaluator or someone commissioning evaluation, any intervention to be evaluated that takes place within human society and involves human interactions will have gendered dimensions. And that means that you as an evaluator should be able to identify and analyse those gendered dimensions.

But the way in which this analysis is done will depend on how the evaluator (and the intervention being evaluated) thinks about gender in the first place.

Gender Analysis


Whether you are an evaluator or someone commissioning evaluation, any intervention to be evaluated that takes place within human society and involves human interactions will have gendered dimensions. And that means that you as an evaluator should be able to identify and analyse those gendered dimensions.

But the way in which this analysis is done will depend on how the evaluator (and the intervention being evaluated) thinks about gender in the first place.

Note: Gender is one of many ‘markers of difference’ along which humans tend to judge each other. Other such markers include disability, ethnicity, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, sexuality, or socio-economic status. The ways in which these markers of difference intersect to increase marginalisation, exclusion and inequity is also vitally important for evaluators to keep in mind.

What do we mean by gender?

‘Gender affects everyone, all of the time. Gender affects the way we see each other, the way we interact, the institutions we create, the ways in which those institutions operate, and who benefits or suffers as a result of this.’ (Fletcher, 2015: Addressing Gender In Impact Evaluation: What Should Be Considered?)

The importance of considering gender is widely acknowledged in evaluation Terms of Reference, training curricula, evaluation-related publications and evaluation reports. But these documents often fail to clearly define what they mean by the term. There can be an assumption that the word is clearly understood, but in reality there is no one accepted way to understand what gender is. And that means there is no one accepted way of doing ‘gender analysis’. Similarly, there is no one way of doing feminist evaluation (as noted on the BetterEvaluation feminist evaluation theme page). This is about your way of thinking.

With that in mind, this theme page will begin by exploring the meaning of gender before moving on to issues of gender analysis.

There are many different definitions of gender, but the majority focus on unfair differences in the ways that women and men (categories of people) are treated in our societies. For example:

‘Gender refers to the roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society at a given time considers appropriate for women and men … In most societies there are differences and inequalities between women and men in responsibilities assigned, activities undertaken, access to and control over resources, as well as decision-making opportunities.’ 

(UN Women Gender Equality Glossary)

Alternatively gender can be defined as:

‘a process of judgement and value … related to stereotypes and norms of what it is to be masculine or feminine, regardless of your born sex category … certain forms of femininity and masculinity are given greater value than others (with particular forms of dominant masculinity usually having the greatest access to power and resources).’ 

(Fletcher, 2015: Addressing Gender In Impact Evaluation: What Should Be Considered?)

What do we mean by gender analysis?

If one takes the first definition provided above as a starting point, then analysing the gendered aspect of an intervention would involve focusing on the differences between men and women within that intervention. For example, are there equal numbers of men and women involved in the intervention and, if not, why not.

If one takes the second definition as a starting point, then analysing the gendered aspect of an intervention would involve examining the judgements, stereotypes and norms related to masculinity and femininity that occur in the intervention’s context and, from there, exploring the effect these stereotypes and norms had on the intended intervention outcomes.

The difference between these two definitions is a crucial one when it comes to evaluating change. The first definition is looking for change in ‘differences and inequalities between women and men’ while the second one is looking for change in the ‘process of judgement and value’ that rewards certain forms of masculinity and femininity while punishing others.

This is an important difference. Gender analysis that is based on the seemingly binary categories of women/men looks for changes in the numbers, and ways, that men and women are engaged in an intervention.

Gender analysis that is based on processes of judgment, norms and stereotypes looks for whether, and how, changes have occurred during the intervention in judgements, stereotypes and norms related to masculinity and femininity, and the effects of those changes. 

Read details at https://www.betterevaluation.org/en/themes/gender_analysis


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