Wednesday February 23rd, 2022
A gender lens: gender mainstreaming and evaluation strategies for development projects
When developing an evaluation strategy for a project or programme, regardless of the sector of intervention and the specific topics addressed, it is essential to ensure that phenomena are read through an inclusive “lens”. Indeed, such an approach, which is also increasingly promoted by international development organisations (OECD DAC, 2019), makes it possible to distinguish the differential effects of interventions on the basis of cross-cutting criteria such as gender, disability, ethnicity or other vulnerabilities.
Among these cross-cutting criteria, gender is becoming increasingly important, insofar the concept of gender mainstreaming now applies to all stages of intervention: design, implementation and evaluation.
How to integrate gender mainstreaming in evaluation strategies?
Gender-mainstreaming in evaluations means designing the evaluation strategy so to promote gender equality at all stages: from the definition of output and result indicators, to the preparation of data collection tools and the sampling of beneficiaries.
Thus, gender mainstreaming in evaluations is not only about understanding what happens to women as a result of their participation in a project, but how the intervention in question contributes to gender equality more generally, applying what is called a transformative approach.
Practical actions for gender-mainstreaming in evaluations include:
- ensuring that the project has objectives that take gender equality into account,
- defining output and result indicators disaggregated by age and gender,
- Collecting and analysing data by gender in order to have a clear understanding of differential effects,
- Defining the project’s contribution to the achievement of indicators and targets related to Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,
- making recommendations that take gender and differential effects into account,
- including gender analysis in all evaluation criteria. This has been promoted by the OECD-DAC framework, recently innovated to include a greater focus on inclusion.
Gender mainstreaming and OECD-DAC framework
The new OECD-DAC framework (2019) provides guidance and a valuable technical tool for operationalising the concept of gender mainstreaming in evaluations. For each OECD-DAC evaluation criterion, we provide examples of specific evaluation focuses:
- To what extent do gender power dynamics influence the relevance of actions in a given context?
- To what extent has the project taken into account women’s needs and priorities?
- To what extent is the intervention consistent with national initiatives and legislation promoting gender equality and human rights?
- To what extent is the intervention consistent with international initiatives and legislation promoting gender equality and human rights? (e.g. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)): Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, te Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, 2030 Agenda).
- To what extent does the intervention generate differential outcomes?
- To what extent were different approaches adopted to reach different genders: i.e. how inclusive was the design of the intervention?
- To what extent were the differential effects monitored?
- To what extent has the intervention produced outcomes based on gender?
- To what extent do the results achieved promote gender equality and women empowerment?
- To what extent human and financial resources have been allocated so to promote gender equality?
- To what extent have resources been allocated between different target groups?
- To what extent is the intervention able to respond to the inequalities and power dynamics of the context, considering that it is often more expensive to reach the most vulnerable beneficiaries?
- To what extent has gender equality been operationalised in project management, decision making, allocation of human resources within the staff?
- To what extent are there gender-related differences in the impact of the intervention?
- To what extent does the intervention impact on structural gender inequalities?
- To what extent does the intervention contribute to impact social norms so as to trigger transformative changes?
- To what extent will the benefits of the intervention last for the different target groups?
- To what extent has the intervention contributed to build an inclusive and equitable environment by addressing systemic issues causing gender inequalities?
ARCO experience on evaluation strategies with a gender lens
Read more on our M&E and Impact Evaluation Unit