Gender “mainstreaming” doesn’t imply just mentioning women in a paragraph cut and pasted from another project. It doesn’t mean just focus on women and have all women beneficiaries. Rather, it means targeting your work to address the specific needs of both men and women within your project. It means identifying gaps between the genders and systematically addressing the constraints that cause them. But if you’re short on time, here are 3 easy ways to add gender to your project.
1) Sex-disaggregate your indicators. All population-level indicators should be sex-disaggregated. Try to go beyond just measuring the number of beneficiaries as well – get down into the details. Are both men and women receiving job training? How about land titling? Doctor visits? There is a dearth of gender data – help close the gap! If you are counting people, it’s not that much of a stretch to count how many of those people are women and how many are men.
2) Look at what other projects have done. Find a project done by someone else in your sector, either within your organization or another. Don’t cut and paste their gender paragraph, but use their work as a point of inspiration. Google the name of your sector + “gender impact evaluation” or go to the World Bank Group’s enGENDER Impact for more. Finding what worked for others in a similar context can help. The impact evaluations can tell you if a strategy is successful and help you to design an effective intervention.
3) Talk to a gender expert. Since there is such an emphasis on gender equality in development now, someone within your organization is likely to be able to help you. There are more gender champions than you might expect. It might take a bit of digging, but a good place to start is by reaching out to whoever wrote that project or impact evaluation you looked at in step 2. Try LinkedIn or one of the large international organisations – often someone there can point you in the right direction.
Of course, this is all assuming you have already talked to men and women and girls and boys benefitting from your project and understand the ways that it affects them. That’s really the most important step in any project in any sector. If you haven’t talked to your target population, but only their leaders, representatives, or the few people who happened to be around when you did a survey on a Tuesday afternoon, go back. Find out what the women in the area think is the best way to get electricity into their homes. Ask the girls if they feel safe taking the bus to school and if not, what they think needs to be done to change that. Your best ideas will probably come from the grassroots, not the office.
Are there population-level indicators that you think cannot be sex-disaggregated? Let me know in the comments.