Gender Inclusive Development:
An Exploration of Gender Analysis Frameworks and Policy Implications

Hari Srinivas
Policy Analysis Series C-056



he criticality of gender issues is being increasingly recognized , particularly in developing countries, and emphasis on gender sensitivity and inclusiveness is being called for, and its stronge integration into developmental policies, programmes and projects.

This short report is an output of GDRC's Gender and Development Programme, and was written with two objectives in mind. Firstly, it attempts to summarize the current understanding of gender analysis frameworks, and the process of developing and using such frameworks. It focusses on environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) [1] and contextualizes the development of a Gender Analysis Framework to assist the application, adoption and use of ESTs. The other key objective of the report is to develop and use gender criteria in the design, development, implementation and evaluation of developmental programmes and projects.

A Gender Analysis Framework is a step-by-step tool to raise questions, analyze information, and develop strategies to increase women's and men's participation in and benefits from projects and programmes.

Understanding Gender in Development


he criticality of incorporating gender perspectives in environmental management and community development programmes lie in the fact that decision-making processes always start at home and at the individual level. Power structures not-with-standing, most of the decisions at the household level are taken by women, and directly affect the household to which she belongs. Also, benefits accrued from education and awareness building programmes targeted at women, are ploughed back to the family and household.

But dilemmas with respect to gender issues do exist - Do we look for gender specificity or look at human dimensions? Do we work on gender stereotypes, or work on new/emerging roles? Is there a difference/distinction in the way women collect, process and use information and in the way they take decisions? Should gender studies be separate or should be mainstreamed? Should it be 'gender' and environment or 'women' and environment? Should 'Gender' focus on women, on men, or on both?

The three corners of a gender policy relate to (1) creating the right conditions for the delivery of a variety of resources to support empowerment of women, especially where they have a say on the type and mode of delivery of resources of their choice; (2) the provision of cost-effective and complementary services - for example, training and gender sensitivity workshops, covering all issues of economic, social, cultural and other aspects, that leads to empowerment, and (3) mainstreaming of gender issues within larger developmental policies, which may call for a in-depth review of norms and regulations from a gender perspective, identifying empowerment indicators for a programme or policy, etc.

1. Gender Analysis

A thorough gender analysis is a critical starting point for any programme or project that aims to be more gender sensitive. Questions such as the difference in impacts of the policy/programme on women and men; the advantages and disadvantages; roles and responsibilities; who does what, who has what, who needs what; strategies and approaches in closing the gap between what men and women need; etc. need to be asked and analyzed in building a comprehensive picture of the existing situation. This will identify the lacks (that which is not there), gaps (that which is not enough) and mismatches (that which is not right).

2. Information and knowledge

Key to developing a comprehensive gender framework is the effective management of information and knowledge. Attention needs to be paid to the collation, packaging and dissemination of information - the right information, at the right time, at the right level, to the right person, so that the intended and right decision can be taken. All three stages of the information management continuum - collation, packaging and dissemination is therefore critical. Issues that need to be kept in mind for collation include - who has the information, what is the quality and quantity of the information available, what format is the information in; for packaging include - how will the information be used, what format should it be in, what decisions and actions are expected from the information provided, who is the user of the information; for dissemination include - what is the best media to use for reaching the intended target group, how can the dissemination facilitate long term capacity building, etc.

3. Participation and Decision-making

As mentioned in the introduction above, the household is the smallest decision-making unit in a society, where decisions are taken daily - that not only affects the household itself, but cumulatively have a long-term and global impact. As the slogan "Think Global, Act Local" extols, it will be the effective action taken at the local / micro level that will have maximum impact. Effective involvement of all levels of decision-making, particularly at the household level will ensure that decisions taken at the macro level will have its intended micro impacts. The participation of women in all decision-making processes - whether micro or macro - will ensure that broader goals are achieved, and will benefit all sections of the society

4. Legislation, rules and regulations

A comprehensive set of legislation, rules and regulations at the national and local levels - that address short, medium and long term issues are important, but so is its implementation. Both women and men need to be made aware of the protection and provisions made under different legislation, rules and regulations. These cover remedial, preventive, and management strictures that aim to create a gender-balanced society. Effective legislative frameworks in fact lie at the core of good governance.

5. Organizational balance

Maintaining a gender balance within any organization - in the public or private sector - is critical to ensure that concerns and needs of both women and men are taken into account in decision-making and implementation. Day-to-day operations of an organization, whether a local government, a business, a company or a school or university, need to benefit all its members. This is done though conscious and stated policies, regulations, and/or management practices.

6. Capacity building and Training

Despite well intended policies, legislation or practices, achieving a gender balance in meeting needs and concerns of both women and men does not just happen. There is a clear need for better capacity building and training to be undertaken to increase the viability and effectiveness of gender policies and programmes remedy the situation, as well as proactively prevent discrimination and bias from happening. Gender sensitivity has to be built in both women and men, particularly in those who are in positions of decision-making.

7. Resource Provision

Dismantling decades and even centuries of gender discrimination is not an easy task and requires the elimination of deep-rooted bias with both positive and negative reinforces. Access to markets, information, finance, skills and other resources need to be provided to women in order to be able to play in a level playing field. These can come in the form of specially targeted programmes and provisions, or better and open access to existing ones. This is particularly true in the case of access to financial resources, and access to markets and information for the products they produce or services they provide.

Contextualizing Gender Analysis


ender analysis examines the differences in women's and men's lives, including those which lead to social and economic inequity for women, and applies this understanding to policy development and service delivery is concerned with the underlying causes of these inequities aims to achieve positive change for women.

The term 'gender' refers to the social construction of female and male identity. It can be defined as 'more than biological differences between men and women'. It includes the ways in which those differences, whether real or perceived, have been valued, used and relied upon to classify women and men and to assign roles and expectations to them. [2] The significance of this is that the lives and experiences of women and men, including their experience of the legal system, occur within complex sets of differing social and cultural expectations'.

A gender analysis should recognize that:

  • women's and men's lives and therefore experiences, needs, issues and priorities are different
  • women's lives are not all the same; the interests that women have in common may be determined as much by their social position or their ethnic identity as by the fact they are women
  • women's life experiences, needs, issues and priorities are different for different ethnic groups
  • the life experiences, needs, issues, and priorities vary for different groups of women (dependent on age, ethnicity, disability, income levels, employment status, marital status, sexual orientation and whether they have dependants)
  • different strategies may be necessary to achieve equitable outcomes for women and men and different groups of women
  • analyses aim to achieve equity, rather than equality.
Gender equality is based on the premise that women and men should be treated in the same way. This fails to recognize that equal treatment will not produce equitable results, because women and men have different life experiences.

Gender equity takes into consideration the differences in women's and men's lives and recognizes that different approaches may be needed to produce outcomes that are equitable.

Gender analysis provides a basis for robust analysis of the differences between women's and men's lives, and this removes the possibility of analysis being based on incorrect assumptions and stereotypes.

Why Gender Analysis?

Several different Gender Analysis Frameworks exist today. They are step-by-step tools for carrying out gender analysis, which help to raise questions, analyze information, and develop strategies to increase women's and men's participation in and benefits from forestry programmes.

In general, Gender Analysis Frameworks are concerned with a number of critical questions [3] such as (1) the development context or patters in an area, answering the questions What is getting better? What is getting worse? (2) Women's and men's activities and roles in the forestry sectors, answering the questions Who does what? (3) women's and men's access to and control over resources, answering the questions. Who has what? Who needs what?, (4) programme actions needed, answering the questions What should be done to close the gaps between what women, and men need? What does development deliver?

The outputs and recommendations from a Gender Analysis can be used in a number of ways:

  • development of management plans to ensure that the contributions of both women and men are adequately recognized in determining access to and control over resources
  • development, or review, of policy to ensure sustainability through equitable participation of all stakeholders
  • profiling of stakeholders to develop an understanding of who the stakeholders are, beyond just gender, to other socially determined characteristics.
  • restructuring of activities and organizations to ensure equitable participation at all levels and in a diversity of functions by both women and men.
  • development of criteria for training selection or recruitment to ensure that women and men have equal opportunities to progress in their career and that there are both women and men working in diversity of capacities in the sector to work with the women and men of the other stakeholder groups
A Typical Gender Analysis Framework

A typical gender analysis framework has four parts and is carried out in two main steps [4]. First, information is collected for the Activity Profile and the Access and Control Profile. Then this information is used in the analysis of factors and trends influencing activities and access and control, and in the project cycle analysis.

1. Activity Profile:

Who does what? What men and women (adults, children, elders) do, and where and when these activities take place. The planner needs to know the tasks of men and women in the population subgroups in the project area to be able to direct project activities toward those performing particular tasks. Therefore, data must be gathered on women's and men's involvement in each stage of the agricultural cycle, on their shared as well as unshared tasks, and on the degree of fixity of the gender division of labor. The objective is to ensure that women are actively included in the project and are not disadvantaged by it.

The Activity Profile usually considers all categories of activities: productive, reproductive,1 community-related service. It identifies how much time is spent on each activity, how often this work is done (e.g., daily or seasonally), which periods are characterized by a high demand for labor, and what extra demands the program inputs will make on women, men, and children.

The Activity Profile also identifies where the activities take place, at home or elsewhere (the village, marketplace, fields, or urban centers), and how far these places are from the household. This information gives insights into female and male mobility, and allows an assessment of the impact of the program on mobility, method of travel, travel time for each activity, and potential ways of saving time.

Issues considered under Activity Profile include:

  • Production of goods and services
  • Reproductive and human resource maintenance activities
  • Community work
  • Community organization and activities
2. Access and control profile

Who has what? Who has access to and control of resources, and decision making?

The Access and Control Profile considers productive resources such as: land, equipment, labor, capital and credit, and education, and training. It differentiates between access to a resource and control over decisions regarding its allocation and use. It enables planners to consider whether the proposed project could undermine access to productive resources, or if it could change the balance of power between men and women regarding control over resources.

The profile examines the extent to which women are impeded from participating equitably in projects. For example, if women have limited access to income or land, they may be unable to join groups, which provide production inputs and commercial opportunities, or to become independent commercial producers. In some subgroups, men may also suffer the same disadvantage.

Program management mechanisms (e.g., the creation of water users) groups or cooperatives) may determine who has access to and control over productive resources and may change existing gender relations.

3. Analysis of factors and trends

What is the socio-economic context? How activity, access, and control patterns are shaped by structural factors (demographic, economic, legal, and institutional) and by cultural, religious, and attitudinal ones.

This analysis considers the structural and socio-cultural factors that influence the gender patterns of activity and access and control in the project area:

  • demographic factors, including household composition and household headship;
  • general economic conditions, such as poverty levels, inflation rates, income distribution, internal terms of trade, and infrastructure;
  • cultural and religious factors;
  • education levels and gender participation rates; and
  • political, institutional, and legal factors.
The analysis should consider the following: Which policies and programs aimed at ensuring women's participation could affect the project? Which community norms and beliefs could influence women's participation in the project's activities? Are there laws or regulations that could affect women's participation in the project or their access to its benefits?

4. Program cycle analysis

What gender considerations are needed for the project? Gender-sensitive project planning, design, implementation, monitoring, and post-evaluation

This analysis will indicate if and where the objectives and methods proposed for the project should be modified to improve the chances that the project will succeed and to minimize the likelihood that women will be disadvantaged as a result of it. Some questions that may need to be considered in this analysis deal with production processes, training, information, participation, access, institution building, project framework etc.

Particularly within the Project framework, the following issues need to be considered:

  • Do the planning assumptions (at each level of the planning framework or logical framework, for example) adequately reflect the constraints on women's participation in the program?
  • Do project performance indicators identify the need for data to be collected, disaggregated by gender? Will changes in the gender division of labor be monitored? Will data on women's access to and control over resources be collected during the project?
  • Can the project meet both practical gender needs (supporting and improving the efficiency of women's and men's productive roles) and strategic gender needs (improving gender equity through women's participation in the project)?
  • Do the goals, purposes, or objectives of the program explicitly refer to women or reflect women's needs and priorities?
  • Do the project inputs identify opportunities for female participation in program management, in the delivery and community management of goods and services, in any planned institutional changes, in training opportunities, and in the monitoring of resources and benefits? Will the project resources be relevant and accessible to poor women in terms of personnel, location, and timing?
  • Does the project include measurable indices for the attainment of its GAD objec-tives, to facilitate monitoring and post-evaluation?

Gender Analysis Matrix

One of the key aspects of a Gender Analysis Framework is a matrix that studies affected stakeholder within a set of categories. It is an analytical tool that uses participatory methodology to facilitate the definition and analysis of gender issues by the communities that are affected by them. Using the Gender Analysis Matrix will provide a unique articulation of issues as well as develop gender analysis capacity from the grassroots level up. The Gender Analysis Matrix is based on the following principles:

  • All requisite knowledge for gender analysis exists among the people whose lives are the subject of the analysis
  • Gender analysis does not require the technical expertise of those outside the community being analysed, except as facilitators
  • Gender analysis cannot be transformative unless the analysis is done by the people being analyzed.

  • Labour: This refers to changes in tasks, level of skill required (skilled versus unskilled, formal education, training) and labour capacity (how many people and how much they can do; do people need to be hired or can members of the household do it?)
  • Time: This refers to changes in the amount of time (3 hours, 4 days, and so on) it takes to carry out the task associated with the project or activity.
  • Resources: This refers to the changes in access to capital (income, land, credit) as a consequence of the project, and the extent of control over changes in resources (more or less) for each level of analysis.
  • Culture: Cultural factors refer to changes in social aspects of the participants' lives (changes in gender roles or status) as a result of the project.

Implications for Developmental Programmes and Projects


he criticality of incorporating gender considerations in any developmental or management action is well acknowledged. Taking this into consideration, the focus and coverage of an initiative is the placing of gender within the context of overall development and management. Within these areas, the coverage of the cross-cutting programme should be gender, environment and technology transfer in developing countries . There can be two complementary and supplementary objectives:
  • To mainstream the principles of gender equity and responsiveness in developmental programs and projects
  • To promote gender sensitivity and responsiveness in technology transfer, and in the application, adoption and use of environmentally sound technologies.
The program can be operationalized by outlining the strategies and mechanics of implementation, expected outputs, targets and results and timetable, based on these objectives. Success of a gender initiatives will also rest on links with existing organizations/institutions (international and national) that have gender programmes in order to develop and implement a monitoring system for gender-responsiveness in technology transfer.

1. Agenda 21, Chapter 34: Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology, Cooperation and Capacity-Building [Return to text]

2. Policy statement from the Ministry of Women's Affairs, New Zealand.[Return to text]

3. FAO, "Gender issues in the Zambia Forestry Action Programme" (1997)[Return to text]

4. Adopted from ADB 2002, "Gender Checklist - Agriculture"[Return to text]

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