Of late there has been considerable discussions about gender transformative evaluations, as distinct from gender ameliorative, gender instrumental or gender-blind ones. The gender transformative evaluations seek to assess changes in gendered (and other) power relations and norms & resources in different institutions and contribution of policies, programmes, or projects to these changes, apart from adopting a transformative evaluation methodology. The gender ameliorative ones assess whether needs arising out of gender/ other identities (e.g water, sanitation, child care and micro credit) are being addressed. The methodology may entail some participation, but may not help the evaluation team and participants think critically. Gender instrumental evaluations seek to assess how gender norms have been used for other development purposes like assessing how educating women on breast feeding practices improves child nutrition. The evaluation methodology, again, may entail some participation, but may not help the evaluation team and participants think critically. Some evaluations are totally gender blind, and measure changes in agriculture productivity etc without reference to men or women
How does assessment of work with men fit into gender-transformative evaluation?
As of 2018, we live in a hierarchical society, based on gender, caste, class, religion, abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity etc. Given this context it is important that gender transformative evaluations assess whether:
- men's attitudes on patriarchal gender norms (e.g men as household head, son preference, patrilineal inheritance, gender division of labour, men's religious superiority etc have changed and contribution of policy/programme/project to the same through its work with men
- men's dominant position in institutions has reduced and contribution of policy/programme/project to the same through its work with men
-men's control over majority of household, village and locality resources is changing and contribution of policy/programme/project to the same through its work with men
- government's strategy on gender transformation includes working with men on gender and social relations and contribution of policy/programme/project to the same
The move in some gender responsive evaluations to see whether men's needs in development have been addressed (like their access to land, micro credit, skill training, extension etc) is problematic. It is argued that gender implies "men and women", and in situations the project resources were targeted mainly at women the project was not sensitive to gender when fair amount of transformation may have occurred. Such an argument is all right in a century where gender inequalities have been eliminated, not when they are deep-rooted. At present investment in sensitising men on gender and holding patriarchal men and institutions to account is important.
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