GR015 Gender 101 - Introduction to Gender in Development

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. It focuses on the background and concepts behind why gender considerations are important for our work.

There are some quizzes along the way to keep you alert - but don't worry, they're not strict tests!

Learning Objectives:

 

Data and quotes throughout the course are either cited directly in the text through links, or in an additional Sources section at the bottom of each page.

Glossary

Glossary

A. Background: Why are Gender considerations important in International Development, and for us at Good Return?

Gender Equality in the International Development sector

On 25 September 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, called the Sustainable Development Goals.

Growing trend towards addressing gender equality issues

It has been an ongoing and increasing trend in the International Development sector to actively address gender equality issues and incorporate gender considerations into program processes. 

DFAT's Gender equality and women's empowerment strategy from February 2016 established three priorities guiding work on gender equality:

  • Enhancing women’s voice in decision-making, leadership and peace-building
  • Promoting women’s economic empowerment
  • Ending violence against women and girls

Message from Shane

Timeline Gender Equality Milestones

Sources

[1] Biography.com Editors 2014, accessed 8 August 2017, https://www.biography.com/people/raden-adjeng-kartini-37859.

[2] Revolvy.com Editors 2017, accessed 8 August 2017, https://www.revolvy.com/topic/Sunil%20Babu%20Pant&uid=1575.

[3] IWDA Blog 2017, accessed 8 August 2017, https://www.iwda.org.au/3-feminist-friendships-that-changed-the-face-of-history/.

[4] ABC 2013, accessed 8 August 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2013/02/07/3685080.htm.

[5] Canby Publications Co. 2017, accessed 8 August 2017, https://www.canbypublications.com/phnompenh/pphistory.htm.

[6] Male Champions of Change 2017, accessed 8 August 2017, http://malechampionsofchange.com/about-us/a-message-to-our-colleagues/.

[7] Australian Government 2017, accessed 8 August 2017, http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-suffragettes.

[8] Women Suffrage and Beyond 2015, accessed 8 August 2017, http://womensuffrage.org/?page_id=69.

[9] UN Women 2015, accessed 8 August 2017, http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/multimedia/2015/9/timeline-un-at-70-gender-equality.

[10] UN 2009, accessed 8 August 2017, http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/.

[11] Millennium Project 2006, accessed 8 August 2017, http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/goals/.

[12] Fijian Government 2013, accessed 8 August 2017, http://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Center/Press-Releases/FIJI-AND-INDONESIA-TO-GROW-TIES-AFTER-AGREEMENT-SI.aspx.

[13] Fijian Government 2014, accessed 8 August 2017, http://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Center/Cabinet-Releases/FIJI%E2%80%99S-NATIONAL-GENDER-POLICY-APPROVED.aspx.

[14] Wikipedia 2017, accessed 8 August 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidhya_Devi_Bhandari.

Gender Equality as a Human Rights issue

What are human rights?

'Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.' (UN Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner)

Human rights are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948, but ever since then new human rights have constantly been added to the list. They cover vast areas and include things like the human right to water and sanitation, food, development, self-determination, freedom of expression, and so on. For a comprehensive list of all human rights issues, visit the website of the Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.


Human rights and gender

Several international human rights instruments address gender equality, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and an array of LGBT Resolutions


Which of these international human rights instruments and frameworks promote gender equality? Select all that apply.

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

Gender-Based Violence (GBV)

What is Gender-Based Violence?

Gender-based violence (GBV) is the general term used to capture violence (physical, sexual, emotional, economic) that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender, along with the unequal power relationships between genders.


Who is affected by GBV?

Women, girls, as well as men and boys and other genders can be affected by GBV. While women and girls are more likely to experience GBV, in conflict situations or as refugees men and boys can be just as vulnerable or even more likely to be targeted. The same is true for members of LGBTIQ+ communities. A 2016 study by the US Women's Refugee Commission found that intersecting identities, such as race, ethnicity, and disability can also increase the risk of GBV. For example, in Uganda, 'mothers of persons with disabilities (children and adults) perceived that men and boys with disabilities may be targeted for rape and sexual violence at the same time as women and girls'.

Violence Against Women (VAW)

What is Violence Against Women?

Violence Against Women (VAW) is a form of GBV. The United Nations defines VAW as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

Source

Partners for Prevention 2013, accessed 8 August 2017, http://www.partners4prevention.org/about-prevention/research/men-and-violence-study.

Economic inequality and economic violence against women

The main focus of Good Return's gender work

Since Good Return works in the economic empowerment space, economic violence against women is the main focus of our current gender work. Women experience economic inequality through economic violence. Forms of economic violence are withholding earnings from partners, prohibiting the partner from working, or controlling the partner's access to services such as healthcare.

What are forms of economic violence? Select all that apply.

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

Understanding women's and men's roles in economies

IWDA's Floating Coconut

This example by the International Women's Development Agency (IWDA) illustrates how different women's and men's roles in economies in Melanesia can be. Importantly, the least activities are observable on the surface, most can only be identified through detailed research. 

Download the Floating Coconut for better resolution on IWDA's website.

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.

There are several other indices measuring gender inequality, for example the UNDP Gender Inequality Index

Here you can find the Gender Global Gap Report 2016 rankings of the countries Good Return works in:

In what ways do women encounter economic inequality? Select all that apply.

  • 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.

B. Concepts: What is gender as opposed to sex? What is gender equality? What is gender equity? What is women’s empowerment?

Definitions: Sex vs Gender vs Sexual Orientation

Sex: The physical and biological characteristics that distinguish males and females (UN Women). However, it is important to note that biological sex can also be conceived of as a spectrum with a great range of genetic variations between being male and female. More information can be found in this article in Nature.

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 (Good Return Gender Equality Policy).

Sexual Orientation: Sexual orientation refers to each person’s capacity for profound emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different sex/gender or the same sex/gender or more than one sex/gender (UN Women).

Sex, Gender, Sexual Orientation...?

  • Sex
    The physical and biological characteristics that distinguish males and females.
  • 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.
  • Sexual Orientation
    Refers to each person's capacity for profound emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different sex/gender or the same sex/gender or more than one sex/gender.

Reflections on your own gender bias: Flip it to test it

Kristen Pressner: "Are you biased? I am", TEDxBasel

Listen to Pressner's explanation of biases, and test her simple tool "flip it to test it" to find out about your own gender bias!

Thoughts on... Equality vs Equity

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

Source

Mark Abraham, accessed 24 January 2017, https://twitter.com/urbandata/status/695261718344290304.

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 [...] inequities.” (WHO)

Gender Equality vs Gender Equity

  • Gender Equality
    ... refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys.
  • Gender Equity
    The different needs, preferences and interests of women and men need to be taken into account. This may mean that different treatment is needed to ensure equality of opportunity.

Definition: Power

Understanding power: how does it relate to gender equality and women's empowerment? 

Power exists in many forms, and at all levels from the individual to the state. Empowerment projects focus on the way in which individuals and communities access and use power to influence and shape their lives. The diagram below outlines the four most common types of power. 

In most societies, women have less power than men to build their capacity (e.g. access to education), generate earnings outside of the home and participate in decision making. Good Return focuses on women's economic empowerment in order to address power imbalances that restrict women's access to financial services and participation in income generating activities.

Source

Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, n.d., accessed 2 May 2017, https://www.powercube.net/other-forms-of-power/expressions-of-power/.

Definition: Women's Empowerment

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

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

Women's Empowerment: Agency, Structures, Relations

Empowerment cannot be provided from the outside, it has to be self-generated. However, the conditions under which women become empowered can be influenced. 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. This framework developed by CARE acknowledges that empowerment can only be achieved when change is achieved in all three areas of people's lives.

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 can be understood as the interplay of (1) women's agency, (2) structures in which women and men live, and (3) the relations between women and men.

Definition: Gender Mainstreaming

What is gender mainstreaming?

  • Gender mainstreaming is a process of incremental change in policies, strategies and activities in order to ensure that everyone's needs, regardless of their gender identity, are taken into account when planning a program.
  • Long term objective: Attention to gender equality pervades all policies, strategies and activities so that women and men influence, participate in, and benefit equitably from all interventions. 
  • Actions which lead to changes in policies, strategies, advocacy, statistics, etc. 
  • Organisational changes necessary to promote gender mainstreaming e.g. management commitment, accountability mechanisms, guidelines / mechanisms / tools, etc.

At Good Return, we apply gender mainstreaming to our organisation and all programs, as will be examined in the next and last section of this course.

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?

Good Return's Gender Equality Policy Purpose

Good Return's Gender Equality Policy supports and guides our work in advancing gender equality (as a precondition for achieving gender equity), women’s empowerment and non-discrimination of women and men within the organisation and across supported programs.     

Good Return understands that gender equality and women’s empowerment have a crucial impact upon its ability to achieve its mission. As outlined in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action:

“Eradication of poverty based on sustained economic growth, social development, environmental protection and social justice requires the involvement of women in economic and social development, equal opportunities and the full and equal participation of women and men as agents and beneficiaries of people-centred sustainable development.”

To understand and address gender is to understand and address women’s and men’s needs and interests separately. Women’s greater experience of disadvantage and discrimination means that women specifically require special attention and interventions, and men’s involvement and support is necessary and valuable. Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in Good Return work is a vital part of achieving its mission.

Good Return recognises the need for a Gender Policy that will underpin its approach and strategic direction in relation to gender equality. This Gender Policy outlines the context and key issues of gender equality and non-discrimination & safety. It presents definitions, guiding principles, and primary approaches taken by the organisation.

What is the purpose of the Gender Equality Policy? Select all that apply.

  • To support and guide our work in advancing gender equality
  • To support and guide our work in advancing women's empowerment
  • To support and guide our work in advancing non-discrimination of women and men within the organisation and supported programs

Good Return's Gender Equality Policy: Gender Equality Vision & Mission

As an important aspect of achieving Good Return’s vision, Good Return’s Gender Equality Vision is a world where all people, regardless of gender, are able to enjoy equal human rights and associated opportunities to achieve their goals in life free from discrimination and violence.

Good Return’s Gender Equality Mission is to work internally as an organisation and with our partners to address gender inequality and empower women as a means of overcoming poverty.

What is included in Good Return's Gender Equality Mission? Select all that apply.

  • To work internally as an organisation and with our partners to address gender inequality
  • To only focus on women in our work at the expense of men
  • To empower women as a means of overcoming poverty

Gender Equality Policy Principles

Our Gender Equality 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. 

Gender Equality Policy Principles: Test

Our Gender Equality 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. 

Gender Equality Policy: Our Commitment

Good Return will take a proactive and immediate response to addressing discrimination and safety issues relating to gender. Specifically, Good Return commits to:

  • Treat all staff, partner staff, program beneficiaries and supporters with respect and courtesy regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, etc.
  • Ensure all staff have equal access to Good Return resources and opportunities, and address any disadvantages where they exist.
  • Acknowledge the different working styles and various strengths of staff, and encourage equitable participation by women and men in all decision-making processes.
  • Not use discriminatory or stereotyping language (written or verbal), which may diminish or cause offence to others, applying to both internal and external communication.
  • Not permit any form of verbal, emotional, psychological, physical or sexual harassment by Good Return or partner staff.
  • Provide a confidential, sensitive and fair mechanism for staff to report incidences of gender based discrimination and/or harassment.
  • Ensure any breaches of conduct with respect to gender safety and non-discrimination are handled fairly and efficiently, with a view to improving understanding and conduct. Any cases of gender based or sexual harassment will be addressed in accordance with Good Return grievance policy, and if appropriate, relevant State and Federal legislation.

Does our Gender Equality Policy Commitment apply to your work with Good Return?

  • Yes
  • No

Gender Mainstreaming applied

Good Return's efforts in mainstreaming gender:

  • conducting a Gender Self-Assessment in 2015/2016
  • creating a Gender Strategy and Action Plan (2015-2018) based on the results of the GSA
  • establishing a Gender Team across the entire organisation
  • supporting staff and partner organisations in acquiring the necessary technical capabilities to consider and address gender issues in their work (for instance, through this e-learning module!)
  • supporting SPBD Tonga & SPBD Fiji in conducting their own Gender Self-Assessments in 2016/2017


Case study: Partner Gender Self-Assessment (GSA) 2017

"Men have everything, they have the power over women to make decisions. That's why I'm interested in gender equality, so that us women are also powerful." (Staff member on why they would like to learn more about gender equality)

Prior to the GSA, gender equality was a new subject to many partner staff, and they "weren't aware of what it was". Through the survey and subsequent focus group discussions, staff got to know new concepts, and are now "looking forward to more gender training". They see the application of gender equality and gender mainstreaming as important to their organisation, because "women in rural areas are targeted by microfinance programs [which] increase women's financial stability and decision-making power." Consequently, they receive "more resources for their families and development within their communities".

Congratulations!

Well done on finishing Good Return's Gender 101 - Introduction to Gender in Development course!