3. The Gender Continuum

Gender Analysis

Gender Analysis is the systematic attempt to identify key issues contributing to gender inequalities, many of which also contribute to poor programming outcomes. It asks:

1. How will gender relations affect the achievement of sustainable programme results?

2. How will the proposed results affect the relative status of men and women?

The gender continuum is a good place to start thinking about how women, men, boys and girls experience a crisis in different ways and how they may have different needs. The continuum moves along the arrow based on how much the approach makes a contribution to achieving gender equality:

All our programmes should strive towards gender transformative programming—we should never be implementing gender neutral programming. Gender transformative programming also helps us to have programmes with bigger positive impacts from a technical perspective.

Below are definitions, examples, and explanations of gender sensitive and gender transformative integration.

Definition Program example Explanation
Gender sensitive

This approach is the minimum we want to see across all responses.

Acknowledges that different groups:

  • have different vulnerabilities and needs
  • face different risks
  • develop coping mechanisms in different ways to resist shocks, survive and support their families.

A gender sensitive approach is one that takes these issues into account and encourages positive coping mechanisms.

In a livelihood project, staff do a gender analysis and realize that men tend to undertake livelihoods that are linked to markets and public spaces but women do more home-based activities. Accessing public spaces such as markets is not traditionally acceptable for women.

Staff realize these gender differences exist and make sure that the project plans to not just have one type of activity. They have separate producer groups for men and women—one for men (marketplace activities) and a separate one for women (with home-based activities).

To be transformative, livelihood projects will question why certain spaces are usually controlled by men, and work to change that so that everyone has equal access.
Gender transformative

This approach is what we aspire to in all our programming—these programmes help to create conditions for gender equality to emerge.

Actively strives to examine, question, and change rigid gender norms and imbalance of power as a means of reaching outcomes (in a particular sector), as well as gender equality objectives. In a camp management group, staff observe that men are more literate and acknowledged as leaders than women.

The staff work with men and women to understandwhy this is so. They identify skills to increase women’s agency and leadership, and hold community dialogues (with men and women) that challenge the assumption that women cannot be leaders.

This example is transformative because of its explicit focus on addressing the community norms and assumptions about who can and cannot be a leader.