Context analysis of evaluation reports from a gender, intersectionality and rights lens

In an earlier blog (, I argued the need to shift from gender and development (GAD) to gender, intersectionality, rights and development (GIRD) approach if SDG5 are to be achieved by 2030, and if the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women is to be upheld.

Intersectional discrimination is distinct from "multiple discrimination". Multiple discrimination describes a situation where different forms of discrimination operate separately or at different points of time. For example, an ethnic minority woman experience only gender-based discrimination in one situation and only ethnic discrimination in another.  Intersectional discrimination on the other hand refers to a situation where several grounds operate and interact with each other at the same time in such a way that they are inseparable.  For example, a migrant woman from minority community being denied access to community toilets during lockdown facing violence during open defecation, while women and men migrants from other communities had access.  Intersectional discrimination can operate in institutions of family and community, or markets, state or supra-state institutions. For example, state denying permanent methods of contraception to women from primitive tribes as it wants their population to grow.    

In this blog I discuss what background information is required before any evaluation on inter-sectional discrimination in country context/project context.  Information is required on:

  1. Relevant intersecting-oppressed identities and intersectional discrimination faced by "rights holders" of intersecting-oppressed  identities living by themselves and in family, community and markets, 
  2. Powerful groups and  intersecting privileges of powerful groups living in institutions,
  3.  Intersectional discrimination faced by officials/staff from marginalised sections who are "duty bearers",
  4.  Perpetuated through policies, programs, structures, systems and knowledge products of state, and
  5. Similar analysis as 3 and 4 with respect to implementing agencies,

Contextual analysis would also entail assessment of the extent to which rights holders facing intersectional discrimination are organised and able to demand state accountability on intersectional discrimination, and reduce the occurrence, as well as hold family, community and markets accountable to ending intersectional discrimination. For example, a Dalit women's group (from landless households) in Theni district of Tamil Nadu went on a protest to demand higher wages and non-use of caste names with land owners, and mobilised land for cultivation from the state.      

Unfortunately, there is a gap between contextual analysis in evaluation reports and analysis inter-sectional discrimination as described above.  Many evaluation reports stop at sex/gender (binary) analysis, and rarely capture intersectional analysis of discrimination, institutions, articulation of rights/accountability and state accountability.  Identities of caste, race, class, abilities, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, migrant status, marital status, relation position, location, incarceration status are just a few oppressive identities to take into account  

Till gender, intersectionality and rights are woven into contextual analysis t is difficult to evaluation policies, projects and programmes.

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Comment by Serdar Bayryyev on July 26, 2022 at 0:51

Dear Ranjani,

Thank you very much for your blog discussion posted in May 2022, which emphasized the importance of the rights-based context analysis in evaluation. This is a very important topic, and I  I would like to share my reflections in this regard.

Gender equality is an essential human right. The 2030 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goal call for the achievement of inclusive and sustainable development, which would not be possible without achieving gender equity and equality. Evaluation is a powerful tool that should be used to promote social justice and adherence to human rights and equality principles.

Rights-based and gender-sensitive evaluation may contribute to the understanding of the extent to which a development intervention (programme or project) has addressed the needs of men and women, boys and girls, and identify whether such an intervention made any potential contribution towards promoting principles of inclusive and sustainable development.  Gender-sensitive evaluation should provide evidence to key stakeholders on intended and/or unintended effects of the development intervention on women’s empowerment and gender equality. 

In this regard, it is important to recognize that evaluation is an integral component of project (intervention) cycle. While every evaluation should make efforts in integrating gender considerations, the effectiveness of these evaluation efforts can be maximized if each phase of the project cycle (from design to implementation to monitoring and evaluation), is gender-sensitive, and if gender issues are addressed from the initial phases of every project cycle.

In this regard, I am pleased to share the Guide to mainstreaming gender in project cycle, which has been developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:

This guide indicates for each project cycle phase which steps can development practitioners undertake in integrating a gender perspective. For example, during the formulation stage of the project, the guide suggests carrying out gender analysis that would complement the stakeholder analysis; developing gender-sensitive indicators; and conducting an institutional assessment of the gender-related capacities. Similarly, other processes and tools are suggested for each subsequent phase of the project cycle, including an evaluation phase.  

Hope this is useful.

Kindest regards,

Serdar Bayryyev




Comment by Avidha Golwalkar on May 12, 2022 at 12:11

Brilliant insight Ranjani ! a very nuanced view-point.

Comment by Ranjani K.Murthy on April 12, 2022 at 15:58

Dear Rittuu

I am working with Visthar (for Child Believe) on a too kit on gender, intersectionality and social inclusion.  As one delves deeper into the topic, there is more to learn, like an onion peel!

Thanks for your encouragement




Comment by Rituu B Nanda on April 12, 2022 at 9:21

This is brilliant. Thanks a lot Ranjani. 

I struggle in drafting the questionnaire when looking at inter-sectional lens. Some times it is difficult to determine before hand what kind of discriminations exist in the communities and also not to miss the most marginalized and the ones who have faced trauma. 

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