Positioning men in gender-transformative evaluations

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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Comment by Ranjani K.Murthy on March 7, 2018 at 7:42

Dear Rituu, Asha and Laura

Thanks for comemnts

I recall that in Bangladesh I trained 8 evaluation team members to interview male youth who had been through Acid Survivors Foundation's training on gender and how to cope with rejection from a girl or any dispute without resorting to violence/acid violence.  We interviewed male youth who had through the training and those who had not as well as held FGDs to discern attitudes to being told "No" by a girl as well as others. We also tried to understand their knowledge on laws against acid violence and access to acid, what more needs to be done at legal front. 

In Bihar in India we did a couple's workshop to understand perceptions on gender division of labour at home and resources, and issues of domestic violence- and how far there has been a change in these perceptions through the programme. Gender transformative participatory tools were used like gender division of labour mapping, access and control over resource mapping (in household and in the village), decision making matrix, caste and gender discrimination matrix etc

We need both semi structured interviews and gender transformative participatory methods  to assess whether men's attitudes are shifting. I like to compare before after and participant/non participant 

See www.isstindia.org/publications/Ranjani_toolkit.pdf   for further tools



Comment by Rituu B Nanda on March 5, 2018 at 10:39

Excellent questions Ranjani. Thank you. 

How would you make this aspect in evaluation process transformative? 

Comment by Aasha Ramesh on February 28, 2018 at 15:28

The argument put forth by Ranjani is absolutely a reality. Unless there is more work done with men and the disparity between women and men reduces, patriarchal norms challenged and diminished in efforts to bring about equality, gender transformative  evaluations will remain a cosmetic endeavour.  Therefore while there is need to continue strengthening the women's agency, equally is the need to sensitise men, work with them so that they become partners in challenging the institutions of patriarchy.

Comment by Ranjani K.Murthy on February 24, 2018 at 10:00

Dear Laura

Many thanks for your comments.. 

The relationship between men and women, as observed by Amartya Sen, is one of cooperative-conflict. On issues of cooperation like health of children, extension can be targeted at both. However, where women have few household resources and men have most it is important that women benefit more, and engage with men to sensitise them on gender inequalities. 

Women's secondary status is not due to biological difference, but socially created ones- . 

Best regards

Comment by Laura Gagliardone on February 23, 2018 at 12:45

Thanks for sharing. I agree with you on the importance of sensitizing men on gender and women’s empowerment. Men have to be included in the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions so that they can see, in practice, the value of engaging women in economic and social affairs. To me, the key word is TOGETHER. It is time to learn how we can work together for the greater good because two brains, especially if biologically different, are better than one. Men are generally more pragmatic so when they can see the benefits of teamwork, then they are more open to discuss. Laura

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