Meta evaluation with a Gender and Equity lens

I work with the Institute of the Social Studies Trust (ISST), New Delhi. I was part of the team ( included Shraddha Chigateri, Rajib Nandi and Rituu B Nanda) which conducted a Meta-evaluation study with a Gender and Equity lens:Evaluating Evaluations of an Economic Empowerment Programme for Women in India.We presented a paper on our work "Meta-evaluation with a Gender and Equity lens"  in July at SLEVA Conference, Sri Lanka.Below is the abstract.


Meta evaluation with a gender and equity lens: Evaluating Evaluations of an Economic Empowerment Programme for Women in India

Shraddha Chigateri and Tanisha Jugran, Institute of Social Studies Trust

 This paper analyses the processes of engendering meta-evaluations through a discussion of a meta-evaluation carried out in India of a government run programme over three decades. The programme is aimed at the economic empowerment of women from vulnerable groups through training and subsequent income generation. The meta-evaluation study produced an evaluation matrix for the conduct of gender responsive evaluations of the programme in the future.

 In order to conduct the meta-evaluation, we developed a framework to analyse the 20 randomly picked evaluations. The meta-evaluation was conceived of as a formative evaluation, and the framework developed allowed us to use a synthesis approach for the meta-evaluation. The framework was based on evaluation criteria developed by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to which were included questions on research process and utilization of the evaluations. Additionally, the study conducted in-depth interviews with evaluating and implementing organizations. Thereafter, secondary and primary data were also synthesized.

 An integral component of the study was the engendering of the meta-evaluation study with feminist and equity principles through a central focus on inequalities. A key aspect of the meta-evaluation study therefore is the gender responsive nature of the lens employed in the design of the evaluation framework. The Economic Empowerment Programme under study is specifically for women beneficiaries. However, this fact alone does not suffice to make the methodology gender responsive. Some interesting gender responsive methodologies were found in a few evaluations, particularly in locating the time and mobility constraints of the women. However, the overall picture is one of an inconsistent approach to gender responsiveness across the evaluations. For instance, on the collectivisation of women as an indicator of empowerment, many of the evaluations focussed on the numbers of self help groups, rather than whether the groups are active, and conduct economic activity beyond inter-lending. Similarly, while some evaluations examined the income generated through the programme, they did not assess the rate of increase in income or even whether the income was considered valuable by the women and their families. Further, on employment generation, while most evaluations assessed whether employment was generated, they did not assess whether the employment generated increased the burdens on women’s time.

 By employing a gender and equity lens, which allows for recognition that discrimination based on gender, caste, class, etc. is systemic, we were able to probe whether the evaluations assessed effectiveness of the projects in terms of the double burden that women face which enhances their time, poverty, and drudgery. Similarly, the cultural restrictions on mobility allowed us to assess whether the evaluations focused on accessibility to training spaces, production centres, markets for women. Similarly, the evaluation study assessed the evaluations on whether they analysed the accessibility of women to institutions and resources, their participation in political and decision-making bodies, their economic and social empowerment, increase in awareness and confidence levels, better communication skills, and access to health and sanitation facilities.

 In order for meta-evaluations to assess gender and equity concerns, therefore, they have to be attentive to inequities throughout the process of the evaluation, including design and analysis stages. Asking the question on gendered and intersectional inequities provides insights on the processes and indicators of women’s empowerment, which would not be available otherwise. 

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Comment by Dr. Ashwin C Patil on June 19, 2014 at 7:54

It is just excellent body mapping evaluation tool. It will work. It should be tried in rural area  also as many school and college going girls are not even aware about their menstruation cycle. Many are still  using dirty cloths/ straw/ leaves / papers instead of sanitary pads.  This tool will help to feel empower and confident themselves during. 

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