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9. Gender analysis field tools

9. Gender analysis field tools

9.1. Tool # 1: The sexual/gender division of labour

Critical Questions:

As mentioned in the previous section, both women and men work to maintain households and communities but their work tends to be different in nature and value. These differences are a central aspect of gender relations. Society has allocated different roles, responsibilities and activities to women and men according to what is considered appropriate. This is usually called the Sexual Division of Labour, but is more accurately the Gender Division of Labour.

The difference between men's and women's work is a source of division and sometimes conflict among them. It is also a source of connection, interdependence, exchange and co-operation in their combined efforts to meet household survival needs. A GAD approach always strives for a holistic vision and recognizes the relational aspects of the division of labour.

Women are essential contributors to the social and economic well-being of their families, but their work is less valued than men's. Women's work earns less prestige and remuneration and is often excluded from national economic indicators. The nature and extent of women's work can remain invisible if there is no awareness that a gender division of labour exists in the community; and inappropriate assumptions may follow about how work is organized, who does what, and how men and women will be affected by any development intervention.

The gender division of labour is specific to each particular culture and time. It can even differ from community to community. It is flexible and adapts to changing household conditions (illness or absence of a key member, changes in income or need for cash, the influence of local development projects, effects of education and so on).

In the project/program identification phase, a participatory analysis of the division of labour will enable community members (women and men) and external planners to understand how a particular project should be designed, who should be involved and the differential impact on women and on men that might be anticipated. In some situations, the different work done by girls and boys, female and male elders might also be examined. By making visible the extent and importance of women's work, this process can contribute directly to consciousness-raising and empowerment.

The Activity Profile of the Harvard Analytical Framework is a useful practical guide for identifying and ordering information about the sexual/gender division of labour in a community.

9.2. Tool # 2: Types of work

Critical Questions:

There are three main categories of work:

Women, men, boys and girls are likely to be involved in all three areas of work. In many societies, however, women do almost all of the reproductive and much of the productive work. Any intervention in one area will affect the other areas. Women's workload can prevent them from participating in development projects. When they do participate, extra time spent farming, producing, training or meeting, means less time for other tasks, such as the child care or food preparation.

An analysis of the work done by women and men -- of the gender division of labour -- is necessary in order to:

An analysis of work might usefully identify the amount of time spent doing different types of work (particularly by women), and their regularity, seasonality and location. An analysis of community work will also identify women's groups, affiliations and representatives -- valuable information for determining how to consult with and support women's collective activity.

9.3. Tool # 3: Access to and control over resources and benefits

Critical Questions:



Productive, reproductive and community work all require the use of resources. Engaging in work and using resources usually generates benefits for individuals, households and communities. The GAD approach requires sensitivity to women's access to the resources needed for their work, their control over those resources to use as they wish, their access to the benefits derived from family and personal work, and to the control they have over the benefits.

Resources can include: a) economic or productive resources such as land, equipment, tools, labour, cash/credit, employable/income earning skills, employment/income earning opportunities; b) political resources such as representative organizations, leadership, education and information, public-sphere experience, self-confidence and credibility; and c) time which is a particularly critical and scarce resource for women.

Benefits can include: provision of basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, cash and income; asset ownership; education and training; political power, prestige, status, and opportunities to pursue new interests.

Women's subordinate position can limit their access to and control over resources and benefits. In some cases women may have ACCESS (the opportunity to make use of something) to resources, but no CONTROL (the ability to define its use and impose that definition on others). Women may have less access than men to the benefits of economic or political activity, or little control over them. They may have access to land, but no control over its long-term use or ownership. Women may have access to food, but no control over its allocation within the household. Women may have access to income through their food or craft production, but no control over how it can be spent. Women may have some access to local political processes, but little influence and control over the nature of issues to be addressed and final decisions.

Restricted access and control, lack of time, can limit women's ability to participate in and benefit from development activity, particularly at a decision-making level.

Lack of information on access to and control of resources and benefits has led to many incorrect assumptions about what women will be able to achieve and how they will benefit from both women-specific and "integrated" projects. This is another category of information, along with the gender division of labour and types of work, that is required to develop projects that will achieve their objectives. A gender-based analysis of resources and benefits can help planners compensate for and/or correct women's lack of access and control, at least within the project process. An Access and Control Profile is part of the Harvard Analytical Framework.

9.4. Tool # 4: influencing factors

Critical Questions:

Gender relations (including the division of labour, the type of work women and men do, and their different levels of access and control), change to some degree over time in any society. Many factors shape, influence and change these relations. Gender relations in Western societies have been significantly influenced by economic and educational factors; and by the growth of the women's movement and the strength of women's organizing. Gender relations in developing countries have been affected by factors such as the economy, environmental conditions, war and political crises, education, religion, the growing women's movement and Western influence.

Understanding past and present influences on gender relations can give insight into future constraints and opportunities for affecting social change in general, and in gender relations in particular. The rise of religious fundamentalism, for example, can impose new restrictions on women and limit their ability to participate in projects and programs. Male migration, on the other hand, may demand of women more responsibility, non-traditional work and greater independence. Crises such as war or drought can significantly alter gender relations, if only temporarily, and lead women into new roles as leaders, organizers and activists. Development work itself can effect change and be affected by any of the following factors:

9.5. Tool # 5: Practical Needs and Strategic Interests

Critical Questions:

Development projects attempt to identify and address the needs of targeted communities. A GAD approach distinguishes between women's practical needs and their strategic interests. They are closely related to condition and position.

Practical needs are linked to women's condition. They can be readily identified and usually relate to unsatisfactory living conditions and lack of resources. Poor Third World women (while their priorities vary) may identify practical needs which are related to food and water, the health and education of their children, and increased income. Meeting such needs through development activities can be a relatively short-term process involving inputs such as equipment, technical expertise, training, handpumps, clinics or a credit program. Projects that aim to meet practical needs and improve living conditions generally preserve and reinforce traditional relations between men and women.

Strategic interests for women arise from their subordinate (disadvantaged) position in society. Strategic interests are long-term and related to improving women's position. Access to participatory democratic processes is in the strategic interests of the poor in general. Access to gender equality is in the strategic interest of women in particular. Empowering women to have more opportunities, greater access to resources, and more equal participation with men in decision-making is in the long-term strategic interest of the majority of the world's men and women alike.

Strategic interests are less obvious and less readily identified by women than practical needs. Like any powerless group, women may be well aware of their subordination, but may not understand its basis or the possibilities for change. Even when options for change are known, practical needs and family survival are always priorities. Given the appropriate opportunity, however, women are generally able to describe their situation -- their condition and their position. Strategic interests readily emerge in women's gatherings and in the most informal of consciousness-raising processes. The strategic interests of women as a group include:

An underlying assumption of the GAD approach is that people should be agents of their own development. Processes that enable self-determination are processes which address the strategic interests of people: full consultation; involvement as planners and managers; education and training; long-term access to resources; and the promotion of democratic political processes. Subordination means women can be readily excluded from these processes. The self-determination of "people" can readily become the self-determination of "men". Therefore, while ensuring that the strategic interests of the community are addressed through people-centred development, it is important that the strategic interests of women in particular are also taken into account.

Adopting a GAD approach does not mean abandoning practical needs. Their satisfaction is a pre-requisite to the empowerment of women. A GAD approach identifies, negotiates and addresses practical needs of both women and men, in such a way that also addresses women's particular strategic interests. A water project, for instance, will aim to include women as committee members, pump caretakers, technicians and health educators. An agricultural project will involve women in project planning, encourage collaboration among women farmers, employ female extension agents and focus on women farmers' technical and labour saving needs. The scope of an agricultural project could be broadened to include post-harvest agricultural activities which are often traditional women's work (processing, marketing, storage).

The following are examples of ways of addressing strategic interests in project activity.

Working on women's strategic interests to change women's position is a long-term, incremental process. Each development project may only make one small contribution toward this end. What is important is that development initiatives, explicitly and strategically, try to contribute to the empowerment of women, as well as the of the community as a whole.

9.6. Tool # 6: Levels of participation

Critical Questions:

A goal of many WID policies is to increase women's involvement as participants, beneficiaries and agents. However, more explicit goals are required for participation and benefit, and the nature of the "agent" role. Women have been participants and beneficiaries in development projects without significant improvement in their condition, and no change in their position. Being an agent in a small women-only project may not enable women to be agents in mainstream development processes.

Participants: participation can happen at several different levels or stages within a project, with varying implications for those involved. ClDA's Social/Gender Analysis Handbook describes four stages of participation in which people will:

The GAD approach aims for the fullest possible participation -- at the level of empowerment -for both women and men in all development activity. The concept of different levels of participation helps us to be aware of how women and men have and might participate in projects/programs, and the extent to which this participation can contribute to empowerment.

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