GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT
Development is an investment in the future. The links between people and
development efforts include food security and nutrition, energy, employment,
income, health, education and sustainable agriculture and natural resources.
These links are especially vital to the rural and urban poor. It is increasingly
recognized that the socio-economic needs of these women and men must be a
priority in any sustainable strategy to resolve development problems.
Increasingly, development policies have begun to move away from a strictly
production and industrial sector focus towards a development approach which
acknowledges the links between resources and people. Current efforts are designed
to address the problems of urban and rural poverty, promoting local people as the
agents as well as beneficiaries of development activities.
Planning for 'people-centered" development requires more precise information
about who the people are. They are not a homogeneous group. The people are
comprised of women and men. The "poor" are poor women and poor men. The
"children" are girls and boys. Everywhere, and within every socio-economic group
the lives of women and men are structured in fundamentally different ways. A
gender-based division of labor is universal; but it differs by culture, place, ethnic
group, and class. Therefore, information is not precise enough for development
project planning if it is not disaggregated by gender.
Increasingly, gender-disaggregated information is used in internationally-aided
development or in national departments because of its importance, and because
many development management professionals now have access to the necessary
information and training in gender analysis.
The implications of considering gender in development
Gender-disaggregated information reveals what women and men know, what
they do, and what they need. Without such information development efforts may
not be appropriately designed, risking failure and negative impacts. Whether
women, men, or both should be participants in specific development activities is a
highly contextual question. The answer depends on the roles and priorities of the
women and men within specific locations. Using gender analysis, development
planners gain gender disaggregated information on factors affecting development
which guides them to more sustainable, equitable, and effective development.
Gender disaggregated information is different from information collected by
other methods for development planning because it uses the individual person as
its unit of analysis. Therefore, it is more precise than other methods employing
more aggregate analytic units. Gender analysis is a methodology for presenting a
comprehensive picture of women and men's contributions.
WID and GAD: trends in practice
Traditional data collection methods often omitted women's multiple roles and
contributions to development. Then, the Women in Development (WID) approach
to development planning highlighted the importance of women's contributions, bui
it focused primarily on women. Other development programs focused on the
household or family as the unit of analysis. These approaches assumed that each
member of the family shared equally all the benefits accruing to the family as a
whole. This assumption has proved to be incorrect.
Gender analysis differs from these approaches by building up from WID to
include both women and men. Development policies and plans are frequently base(
on the assumption that men alone support families, but in reality it is women and
men together who do so; in the growing number of female-headed households it is
women alone who do so. Gender analysis is used to plan development efforts that
meet the needs of each member of the household, to the benefit of the home,
community, and nation.
Why Gender Analysis?
In many developing countries, women are the primary managers and users of
productive and reproductive resources. Yet gender is an often overlooked element
in development programs and projects. Gender analysis increases our
understanding of the gender-based division of labor, indigenous knowledge,
resource access and control, and participation in community institutions with
respect to human, technical and financial resource management.
Gender analysis helps practitioners to:
/ design more effective programs and projects
/ create more equitable projects
/ work more effectively with both women and men in development
/ explore new and indigenous community management techniques
/ strengthen village and neighborhood institutions
Effective program and project planning is based on good information and sound
analysis. The primary goal of gender analysis is to provide policy, program, and
project specialists with simple and inexpensive tools to incorporate gender concerns
directly into development action. Utilizing gender-sensitive techniques in data
gathering and analysis, and linking these techniques with participatory planning
methodologies, allows us to:
** explore alternative approaches to development management,
identify changing forms of community organization, and
** clarify the important gender-based variables arising in community-level
management of financial, technical and human resources.
Experience and research supports the assertion that the fundamental elements
of effective development management -- sustainability, productivity, and equability
-- are strengthened through explicit attention to gender. A better understanding of
gender as a variable in rural and urban livelihood systems can be gained by using a
variety of analytical tools that fall loosely under the rubric of gender analysis.
The Problem: Changing Gender Roles and Transforming Economies
Around the world, women's and men's responsibilities differ according to the
specific situations in which they live. These circumstances are shaped by:
< economic conditions
O national history
+O household circumstances
In much of the developing world resource productivity is declining. In order to
survive in a cash economy under conditions of a declining resource base, men and
women, even in the remotest parts of the world, increasingly seek local wage labor
in both rural and urban areas. They are also planting and selling more cash crops,
often at the expense of subsistence crops.
Global conditions cause the following phenomena in rural communities:
more time-intensive work for those left behind
growing numbers of women-managed households
new responsibilities for women without increased access to resources
new norms and expectations as families become fragmented
changes in gender and generational perspectives
shifts from exchange work groups to wage labor
Changing conditions in rural livelihood systems lead to changes in gender-based
responsibilities. While such transformations can be observed around the world, they
manifest themselves differently according to region. Mbusyani and Kyevaluki
Sublocations, Machakos District, Kenya, offer an illustration:
Global Conditions and Local Trends in Mbusyani and Kyevaluki,
Machakos District, Kenya
The most noticeable trend for both Mbusyani and Kyevaluki Sublocations is the
inexorable way in which their linkages with the broader political and economic
systems are growing. Increasingly, more residents rely on cash. The returns on
their most significant cash crop, coffee, vary according to events taking place beyond
their borders and control. The price of coffee per kilo is determined, not by local
markets, or even in Nairobi, but in London or Washington.
Another trend is that of population pressure on already degraded landscapes.
Population in these communities has been increasing steadily since Kenya became
independent. The natural growth rate is nearly 4% per year, and promises to
continue at this rate in the immediate future. Indeed, families are large, often with
six to eight surviving children.
In addition, these communities face a depressed economy. Returns from coffee have
not been good in recent years. Costs escalate as families remove land from food
production to put it into coffee or another cash crop. With few other sources of
income, land sales become a last resort in order to obtain the education for their
children which local residents believe is vitally important. Job opportunities are few
in the area. Many are able to get only casual work within the farming community.
Given the gender-based division of labor that designates the production of food crops
for household consumption as a female responsibility, and the lack of cash for labor
inputs, there is a shortage of labor at critical times in food crop production.
These factors are causing real changes in the generational and gender assumptions
and expectations for the future. Older women in Mbusyani and Kyevaluki are
beginning to take on the responsibilities concomitant with having their own coffee
shares, including selling the coffee and controlling the proceeds. Young women,
particularly those with secondary education, are questioning traditional roles such
as early marriage, early pregnancies, and a life of hard physical work. Instead, they
search for other options and have new expectations.
Source: Asamba and Thomas-Slavter, 1991.
Linkages: Gender and Poverty'
Despite the accumulating forces for greater participation, large numbers of
people continue to be excluded from the benefits of development: the poorest
segments of society, people in rural areas, many religious and ethnic minorities --
and, in almost every country, women. Women are the world's largest excluded
group. Even though they make up half the adult population, and often contribute
much more than their share to society, inside and outside the home, they are
frequently excluded from positions of power. Many developing countries also
exclude women from both political participation and productive work -- whether by
tradition, discriminatory laws or withheld education. Indeed, for decades, life has
changed very little for 500 million rural women in the developing world.
Powerful vested interests, driven by personal greed, erect numerous obstacles to
block off the routes to women's political and economic power. These obstacles
X Legal systems Laws are often arbitrary and capricious and favor those
with political influence or economic clout. In too many countries, legislation
fails to measure up to ideals of transparency, accountability, fairness and
equality before the law. Some countries exclude the participation of women,
for example, or of religious or ethnic minorities, or deny certain rights to
IThis section, with the accompanying box, is taken almost verbatim from the Human Development
Report 1993, Oxford University Press.
have shackled their
all sorts of permits
and permissions for
even the most modest
started to dismantle
the most stifling of
these controls and
are opening new
X Social norms -
Even when laws
change, many old
values and prejudices
persist, and are often
deeply embedded in
and behavior. Laws
equality, but it is
usually left to the
to struggle against
working women, even
when they prove
are not given equal
X Maldistribution of
Women the non-participating majority
Women, a majority of the world's population, receive only a
small share of developmental opportunities. They are often
excluded from education or from the better jobs, from political
systems or from adequate health care.
/ Literacy Women are much less likely than men to be
literate. In South Asia, female literacy rates are only around
50% those of males. And in many countries the situation is
even worse: in Nepal 35%, Sierra Leone 37%, Sudan 27% and
Afghanistan 32%. Women make up two-thirds of the world's
/ Higher education Women in developing countries lag far
behind men. In Sub-Saharan Africa, their enrollment rates for
tertiary education are only a third of those of men. Even in
industrial countries, women are very poorly represented in
scientific and technical study.
J Employment In developing countries women have many
fewer job opportunities: the employment rates of women are on
average only 50% those of men (in South Asia 29%, and in the
Arab states only 16%). Even when they do find work, they tend
to get paid much less. Wage discrimination is also a feature of
industrialized countries: in Japan, women receive only 51% of
Women who are not in paid employment are, of course, far
from idle. Indeed, they tend to work much longer hours than
men. The problem is that the work they do...does not get the
recognition it deserves in national income accounts. If women's
unpaid work were counted as productive output iq those
accounts, output would increase by 20-30%.
J Self-employment Women's opportunities for self-
employment can be restricted in a number of ways. In some
countries they are still not allowed to own property, or to offer
collaeral for bank loans or even to drive.
/ Politics In some countries, women are still not allowed to
vote. And women almost everywhere are underrepresented in
government; in 1980, they made up just over 10% of the world's
parliamentarians and less than 4% of national cabinets. In
1993, only six countries had women as heads of government.
V Health Women tend on average to live longer than men.
But in some Asian and North African countries, the
discrimination against women -- through neglect of their health
or nutrition -- is such that they have a shorter life expectancy.
One of the greatest health risks for women in poor countries is
childbirth. Maternal mortality rates in the developing world
are more than 15 times higher than in the industrial countries.
assets In developing countries, one of the most significant assets is land. A
high proportion of the people struggle to make a living in agriculture, but
their efforts are often thwarted by the dominance of feudal elites who exert
an overwhelming control over land. In these countries, there can never be
true participation in the rural areas without far-reaching land reforms -- as
well as the extension services, training and credit for smaller farmers
(particularly women) that can help them become productive and self-reliant.
Whether in urban or rural areas, vested interests that currently enjoy economic,
financial, political or social power are usually determined to defend their position --
either individually or through cose-knit associations, well-financed lobbies and
Changing the power equation requires the organization of a countervailing force.
People's organizations -- be they farmer's cooperatives, resident's associations,
consumer groups, or political parties -- offer some of the most important sources of
countervailing power. And they often exercise it most effectively through the
sharing of information and ideas -- it is ideas, not vested interests, that rule the
world for good or evil.
Tools for Gender Analysis
Tools for gender analysis are essential building blocks for projects and programs
aimed at changing the "power equation." They reveal how gender differences
define people's rights, responsibilities, and opportunities in society. Recognizing
the ways that development affects men and women differently allows planners to
incorporate this information in the successful implementation, monitoring and
evaluation of democracy and governance development projects and programs.
These tools offer ways of gathering data and analyzing gender as a variable in
household and community organization for development. The methods give new
insights into the local situation and permit a more comprehensive understanding of
the community's situation, and facilitate the creation of a more effective and
equitable development program.
Conclusions and Next Steps
Gender affects development and shapes opportunities for building local-level
capacities across cultural, political, and ecological settings. Project experience
shows that information about gender is vital to effective and sustainable outcomes.
Interest in gender analysis has been spurred largely by those concerned about
women's roles and their desire to transform gender relations across many
dimensions of development. In reality, all people interested in effective and
equitable development management and in long-term capacity-building for local
communities must address issues of gender as they pertain to the development
What is gender analysis?
There are two steps recommended for the gender analysis of programs and
projects, as follows:
0 contextual analysis of gender and social and economic issues,
applying the analysis
Used together, these steps help raise questions, analyze information, and
develop strategies that will increase women and men's participation in and benefits
from development projects, in turn maximizing the potential for successful
Contextual analysis of gender and social and economic issues
This analysis examines the social and economic components which make up the
development context; and is predicated on a history of observation suggesting that
constraints to and opportunities for gender equity in the development process exist
in an inter-woven context of levels of social and economic systems. An analysis of
those constraints and opportunities for action must be conducted in that context,
and at each level, in order to define feasible steps toward change.
This analysis, simple and straightforward in its application, subjects each of the
levels of social and economic systems which are key for gender analysis -- identified
in the diagram above -- to seven investigations, as follows:
/ issues at each level which help us to clarify components of an equity
problem related to gender, age, ethnicity or race
/ identify assumptions that exist about the problem
J test those assumptions
/ specify change needed to achieve development objectives
J articulate specific constraints to change
/ define opportunities for change
J develop specific steps for action
Component aspects to keep in mind as these investigations take place include:
changes slowly over time
is usually not a direct intervention target
+ may have vested interest in status quo
does not represent all stakeholders
is important in policy analysis
*:* can be targeted in policy dialogue
*: may be a focus of legal system reform
may control access to resources
usually implements policy
+ can be an intervention target
-* is often a local gatekeeper
influences cultural change
is an important target for information
* SMALL GROUP component
is often an important entry point
** changes configuration relative to function
** is an important target for information
can identify and implement intervention
* HOUSEHOLD AND FAMILY component
is important in gender role analysis
is dynamic and multi-dimensional
is an important target for information
+ acts in context of other levels of the system2
2As is true with all components.
The following table is useful for keeping track of your findings:
Basic Gender, Age, Ethnicity or Race Equity Issue
[Level Name] Components Social Economic
Issues at the [name of] level
Assumptions about the problem
Information to test assumptions
Change needed to achieve development
Specific constraints to change
Specific opportunities for change
Specific steps for action
Applying the analysis
The gender analysis tool described above is an approach that development
planners can use for making decisions about project activities. Using this tool
provides more precise information about patterns in the lives of men and women at
the social and economic levels of society so that development planning decisions are
based on facts, not assumptions. It helps to identify areas where gender differences
might have a significant impact on the success of development interventions.
Underlying this analysis is the basic premise that gender is a critical variable in
the development process. In other words, projects matching resources to the rights,
roles and responsibilities of men and women are more successful -- i.e., sustainable,
effective, and equitable -- than are projects that do not.
The level of detail in gender analysis depends upon the project purpose.
Development resources are increasingly scarce: therefore, collection of data that are
interesting but do not contribute significantly to an understanding of what factors
will affect project success is unwarranted.
Information from gender analysis -- i.e., the identification of constraints to
change, opportunities for change, and recommendations for specific action -- is used
in reformulating those project documents (e.g., project logframe, annual workplan,
monitoring and evaluation plan, scopes of work) which control the implementation
of democracy and governance activities. We want to answer the question:
For the project or program under consideration, what specific actions can be
taken to increasing project success by recognizing and building on differences
in gender rights, roles, responsibilities, skills and knowledge? For example,
knowledge of differences in men's and women's savings strategies can
indicate new ways to mobilize savings and thus establish stronger credit
programs. Awareness of how men and women receive information (e.g.,
through newspapers, radio, at the health clinic) can assist in designing
effective information dissemination systems for resource management
projects. Knowing gender differences in mobility between and within towns
can assist in designing primary school programs that increase both male and
female enrollment. Knowledge of intra-household responsibility for seed
selection for next year's planting provides an opportunity for agricultural
researchers to gain greater understanding of the drought-resistant, early
maturing, and disease-resistant characteristics of a particular plant variety.
Development programmers can apply what they have learned at many project
stages. As planners and implementers engage in important planning and
implementation activities, the following guidance on project features will be useful.
PROJECT FEATURES TO CONSIDER
Choice of promotion strategy
Choice of technical packages
Timing and duration of activities
Location of project activities or services
Nature and distribution of benefits
Choice of promotion strategy
Promotion strategies need to take into account communication networks and
language differences. Because of limited mobility and less education, women are
less likely to speak a European or national language that must be learned in school.
Women are therefore less able to take advantage of programs, education, and
services. Language requirements need to be considered in outreach and training
Women usually have different communication networks. While men may
receive information from newspapers, radios, or at men-only village meetings,
women may give and receive information at the clinic, the well, or alternate
sources. To ensure that information about resources or new technology is
adequately disseminated, it is important to identify gender-specific communication
Choice of technical packages
Male and female roles ahd responsibilities frequency require different technical
approaches to development problems. Planners should ask: are technical packages
applicable to all households (both male- and female-headed), or only those with
certain types of resources? Are technical packages targeted for the person
responsible for the activity, and do they match that person's resources? Are credit
procedures appropriate for both men and women? Do education and training
curricula address productivity issues related to both men's and women's activities?
Are contraceptive packages appropriate to the financial, sanitation, and prevailing
cultural norms for men and women?
Timing and Duration of Activities
Women's time constraints differ from those of men because of their dual family
and economic roles and responsibilities, which are often intertwined. Project
activities, such as training or voluntary labor contributions, need to take into
account women's daily and seasonal time constraints. Training held during
morning food preparation hours, for example, essentially precludes the
participation of many women.
Outreach of Existing Delivery Systems
Often women operate outside existing delivery systems. They frequently have less
access to outreach or extension agents. There are a variety of explanations for this
situation, ranging from cultural norms constraining contact between non-family
males (extension agents), to lack of information appropriate to their needs provided
by the delivery system.
Location of Project Activities or Services
Cultural norms often restrict the mobility of women. They are less likely to be
able to travel to distant training sites, clinics (including family planning clinics),
village meetings to discuss where water wells and schools should be placed, banks
or financial services, and the other myriad meetings and services development
projects often provide.
Eligibility criteria often preclude women's participation. English language
requirements, for example, can reduce the eligible pool of women candidates for
long-term training, since fewer women have had access to educational institutions
where English is taught. Age limits on long-term training programs may
inadvertently restrict women's participation, since often they must remain at home
i with their children. Credit programs that require land as collateral essentially
eliminate women's participation in many cultures. In some instances the criteria
are more stringent than necessary and should be revised. For example, alternative
forms of collateral could be devised. Other options could provide the training and
assistance that would enable women to meet the requirements.
Nature and Distribution of Benefits
Direct access to benefits affects incentives to participate. Where women are
expected to work or participate but receive few benefits, which has occurred in
agriculture and natural resource management projects, they are less likely to
participate (no surprise here!).
Saying that the "people" or "community" will participate in a development
project obscures the different activities, resources and constraints of women and
men. Gender roles are critical to any effort. These roles vary greatly, and must be
examined in each specific context to avoid faulty generalizations or assumptions.
"Standard" gender-sensitive project design is a contradiction. Every development
context is unique and requires specific responses.