GR015a Introduction to Gender in Development, Part I: Theory

Welcome to Good Return's Introduction to Gender in Development, Part I: Theory!

This course has been designed to introduce you to fundamental gender considerations in international development work. It focuses on the background and concepts behind why gender considerations are important for our work:

Why are gender considerations significant for Good Return? What is gender? What is gender equality? What is gender equity? What is women’s empowerment?

Have fun!

A. Background: Why are Gender considerations important in International Development?

Women and economic inequality

Women account for the majority of the poor and the unbanked worldwide

  • 60% of the working poor earning less than US$1 a day are women (ILO)
  • Women living on less than $2/day are 28% less likely than men to have an account at a formal financial institution (FINDEX)
  • On average, women spend at least twice as much time on household work than men and four times as much time on childcare (ActionAid 2015).
  • The specialisation of women in unpaid work and men in paid work creates and reinforces inequalities and inefficiencies in the labour market (market segmentation, frequent entry and exit, employment lapses, gender wage gaps, gaps in pension contributions etc.) (SEEP) 


Engaging women is key to advancement of families and societies

  • Women tend to invest more of their income into the health, education, and well-being of their families (McKinsey) 
  • The global economy has missed out on 27% of GDP growth per capita due to the gender gap in the labour market (IMF) 
  • The Asia and Pacific region is losing US$42-$47 billion annually because of women’s limited access to employment opportunities, and another US$16 billion to US$30 billion annually as a result of gender gaps in education. (ILO & ADB 2011) 
  • If women were fully integrated into the economy, the United Nations estimates the Asia-Pacific region would grow by an additional $89 billion annually. The World Bank predicts that output per worker would increase by 7-18% if female entrepreneurs and employees in the East Asia Pacific region worked in the same sectors, types of jobs and activities as men.

In what ways do women encounter economic inequality? Select several options.

  • Women spend more time doing unpaid care work than men.
  • Women are less likely to have access to a formal bank account and thereby access to credit.
  • 60% of the working poor earning less than US$1 a day are women.
  • Women are less willing to work as hard as men.

Violence against women

In the 2013 UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific, conducted by Partners for Prevention, a regional joint program of the UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women and UNV, 10,000 men were surveyed across Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and PNG.

Physical and sexual violence against women 

Overall, nearly half of those men interviewed reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner, ranging from 26% to 80%.

Economic violence against women 

  • Cambodia (national): Economic violence: at least one act 53.2% (most common act “withheld earnings from partner” 30.6%, then “prohibited partner from working” 25.6%) 
  • Indonesia (rural site): Economic violence: at least one act 33.3% (most common act “prohibited partner from working 17.6%, then “withheld earnings from partner” 14.8%)

What are forms of economic violence? Select several options.

  • Withholding earnings from partner
  • Prohibiting the partner from working
  • Controlling the partner's access to services, such as healthcare

The Global Gender Gap Index Report 2016 (World Economic Forum)

What is the Global Gender Gap Report?

Through the Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum quantifies the magnitude of gender disparities and tracks their progress over time, with a specific focus on the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics. The 2016 Report covers 144 countries. More than a decade of data has revealed that progress is still too slow for realizing the full potential of one half of humanity within our lifetimes.

Here you can find the 2016 rankings of the countries Good Return works in:

B. Concepts: What is gender? What is gender equality? What is gender equity? What is women’s empowerment?

Definitions: Sex vs Gender

Sex:

The physical and biological characteristics that distinguish males and females. (UN Women)




Gender:

Socially constructed roles and relationships between women and men. They are learned, change over time and vary within and between countries and cultures according to social, religious, historical and economic factors. (WEAL)

Do you know the difference between Sex and Gender?

  • Socially constructed set of roles and responsibilities
  • Cultural, can be learned and changed
  • Born with

Thoughts on... Equality vs Equity

Have you ever got confused about the difference between equality and equity?

Definition: Gender Equality

Gender equality is defined as “the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys […] Gender equality implies that the interests, needs and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration, recognising the diversity of different groups of women and men. Gender equality is not a women’s issue but should concern and fully engage men as well as women. Equality between women and men is seen both as a human rights issue and as a precondition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centred development.” (UN Women)

Definition: Gender Equity

More than formal equality of opportunity, gender equity refers to the different needs, preferences and interests of women and men. This may mean that different treatment is needed to ensure equality of opportunity. This is often referred to as substantive equality (or equality of results) and requires considering the realities of women’s and men’s lives. Gender equity is often used interchangeably with gender equality, but the two refer to different, complementary strategies that are needed to reduce gender-based health inequities.” (WHO)

Gender Equity vs Gender Equality

  • Gender Equity
    … refers to the different needs, preferences and interests of women and men. Different treatment may be needed to ensure equality of opportunity.
  • Gender Equality
    … refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. The interests, needs and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration.

Definition: Women's Empowerment

WEAL acknowledges the UN definition of women’s empowerment that has five components

  • "Women’s sense of self-worth
  • Their right to have and to determine choices
  • Their right to have access to opportunities and resources
  • Their right to have the power to control their own lives, both within and outside the home
  • And their ability to influence the direction of social change to create a more just social and economic order, nationally and internationally.”

Women's Empowerment: Agency, Structures, Relations

Empowerment cannot be given, it has to be self-generated. However, the conditions under which women become empowered can be facilitated. It is important to recognise that empowerment is not an end-state, but an ongoing process practiced in our daily lives. Good Return seeks to enhance women’s empowerment through three dimensions: Agency, Structures, and Relations.

Agency

  • Building knowledge, skills and capabilities (formal)
  • Building confidence, self-esteem & aspirations (non-formal)

Structures

  • Improving laws, policies, procedures and/or services (formal)
  • Challenging social norms, customs, practices, values (non-formal)

Relations

  • Enhancing power through group membership, market negotiation (formal)
  • Addressing power imbalance within intimate & social networks (non-formal)

Which of the following statements are true?

  • Empowerment is self-generated.
  • Empowerment is provided from the outside.
  • Women’s empowerment includes women’s right to have and to determine their own choices.
  • Women’s empowerment includes their right to have the power to control their own lives, both within and outside the home.
  • Empowerment, once achieved, is not automatically a permanent state, but rather an ongoing process. Outside conditions or personal circumstances can change and reverse empowerment.

Empowerment Framework

  • Building knowledge, skills and capabilities
  • Addressing power imbalances in social networks
  • Challenging social norms, customs, practices, values

C. Good Return's Gender Policy: How does gender equality relate to Good Return’s work? Why do we support gender equality and women’s economic empowerment?

WEAL's Gender Policy

Our Gender Equality Vision & Mission: 

WEAL’s vision is a world without poverty where people have access to resources and opportunities to improve their lives. WEAL’s mission is to enable those living in poverty to achieve economic empowerment through responsible financial inclusion and capability development.


Our Gender Policy Principles:

  1. Promote ownership of gender equality amongst staff internally and with WEAL partners.
  2. Actively work to reduce discrimination against women. 
  3. Promote equal representation of women and men in leadership and decision-making. 
  4. Improve women’s and men’s access to education. 
  5. Support efforts towards achieving equal access to economic resources and community services. 
  6. Empower women to share equally in the benefits of economic and social life. 
  7. Support men and women to challenge existing gender roles and relations, minimise harm, and promote women and men’s human rights. 

WEAL's Gender Policy: Principles

Our Gender Policy Principles:

  1.  Promote ownership of  amongst staff internally and with WEAL partners.
  2. Actively work to reduce  against women.
  3. Promote  in leadership and decision-making. 
  4. Improve women’s and men’s access to .
  5. Support efforts towards  equal access to economic resources and community services. 
  6. Empower women to share equally in the   of economic and social life. 
  7. Support men and women to challenge existing gender roles and relations,  harm, and promote women and men’s human rights.