The term gender has now transcended its earlier "grammar-based" usage of classifying nouns as male, female and neuter. It is not used to describe the biological sexual characteristics by which we identify females and males but to encompass the socially defined sex roles, attitudes and values which communities and societies ascribe as appropriate for one sex or the other.

Gender roles

    are roles within which are classified by sex, where this classification is social and not biological. For example, if child-rearing is classified as a female role, it is a female gender role, not a female sex role since child-rearing can be done by men or women.

Gender role stereotyping

    is the constant portrayal, such as in the media or in books, of women and men occupying social roles according to the traditional gender division of labour in a particular society. Such gender role stereotyping works to support and reinforce the traditional gender division of labour by portraying it as "normal" and "natural".

Gender division of labour

    means an overall societal pattern where women are allotted one set of gender roles, and men allotted another set. Unequal gender division of labour refers to a gender division of labour where there is an unequal gender division of reward. Discrimination against women in this sense means that women get most of the burden of labour, and most of the unpaid labour, but men collect most of the income and rewards resulting from the labour. In many countries, the most obvious pattern in the gender division of labour is that women are mostly confined to unpaid domestic work and unpaid food production, whereas men dominate in cash crop production and wage employment.

Gender equality

    means that there is no discrimination on grounds of a person's sex in the allocation of resources or benefits, or in the access to services. Gender equality may be measured in terms of whether there is equality of opportunity, or equality of results. The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women can be understood as a statement on what the principle of gender equality of opportunity should mean in practice for all aspects of life, and all sectors of the economy.

Gender equity

    An approach using gender equity is directed towards ensuring that development policies and interventions leave women no worse off economically or in terms of social responsibility than before the intervention. This approach tries to make equity visible by using indicators which reveal the human cost of many activities; provision of fuel. water, etc. This approach tries to ensure that women have a fair share of the benefits, as well as the responsibilities of the society, equal treatment before the law, equal access to social provisions; education; equal pay for work of the same value.

    Gender equity, as a goal, requires that specific measurements and monitoring are employed to ensure that, at a minimum, programmes, policies and projects implemented do not leave women worse off than other sections of the population, in particular the men in their peer group and families.

Gender discrimination

    means to give differential treatment to individuals on the grounds of their gender. In many societies, this involves systematic and structural discrimination against women in the distribution of income, access to resources and participation in decision making.

Gender sensitivity

    is the ability to recognize gender issues, and especially the ability to recognize women's different perceptions and interests arising from their different social location and different gender roles. Gender sensitivity is often used to mean the same as gender awareness, although gender awareness can also mean the extra ability to recognize gender issues which remain "hidden" from those with a more conventional point of view. Bu here we define gender sensitivity as the beginning of gender awareness, where the latter is more analytical, more critical and more "questioning" of gender disparities.

Gender awareness

    means the ability to identify problems arising from gender inequality and discrimination, even if these are not very evident on the surface, or are "hidden" - i.e. are not part of the general or commonly accepted explanation of what and where the problem lies. In other words, gender awareness means a high level of gender conscientisation.

Gender issues

    arise where an instance of gender inequality is recognized as undesirable, or unjust. There are three aspects of gender issues, namely: gender gap, discrimination and women's oppression.

Gender analysis

    means a close examination of a problem or situation in order to identify the gender issues. The Women's Equality & Empowerment Framework provides a way of unpacking the different aspects of gender issues in the development process, in order to make them more visible and easily recognizable. Gender analysis of a development programme involves identifying the gender issues within the problem which is being addressed and in the obstacles to progress, so that these issues can be addressed in all aspects of the programme - in project objectives, in the choice of intervention strategy and the methods of programme implemention.

Gender planning

    means taking account of gender issues in planning. In development planning, it means that gender issues are recognised in the identification of the problem and addressed in development objectives

Gender training

    means providing people with formal learning experiences in order to increase their gender awareness. In the case of UNICEF staff, the overall purpose of training is to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to recognise and address gender issues in the programming process. At the contre of this learning process is conscientisation, involving the ability to recognise the underlying issues of gender inequality which forma pervasive obstacle to programme progress.

Gender Mainstreaming

    Gender mainstreaming is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in any area and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and social spheres, such that inequality between men and women is not perpetuated.

Gender Mainstreaming Principles

    Gender mainstreaming means:

    • forging and strengthening the political will to achieve gender equality and equity, at the local, national, regional and global levels;
    • incorporating a gender perspective into the planning processes of all ministries and departments of government, particularly those concerned with macroeconomic and development planning, personnel policies and management, and legal affairs;
    • integrating a gender perspective into all phases of sectoral planning cycles, including the analysis development, appraisal, implementation, monitoring and evaluation policies, programmes and projects;
    • using sex-disaggregated data in statistical analysis to reveal how policies impact differently on women and men;
    • increasing the numbers of women in decision-making positions in government and the private and public sectors;
    • providing tools and training in gender awareness, gender analysis and gender planning to decision-makers, senior managers and other key personnel;
    • forging linkages between governments, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders to ensure a better use of resources.


Gender-Neutral, Gender-Sensitive, and Gender Transformative

    The primary objective behind gender mainstreaming is to design and implement development projects, programmes and policies that:

    1. do not reinforce existing gender inequalities (Gender Neutral)
    2. attempt to redress existing gender inequalities (Gender Sensitive)
    3. attempt to re-define women and mens gender roles and relations (Gender Positive/Transformative)

    Gender Negative

    Gender Neutral

    Gender Sensitive

    Gender Positive

    Gender Transformative

    Gender inequalities are reinforced to achieve desired development outcomes

    Uses gender norms, roles and stereotypes that reinforce gender inequalities

    Gender is not considered relevant to development outcome

    Gender norms, roles and relations are not affected (worsened or improved)

    Gender is a means to reach set development goals

    Addressing gender norms, roles and access to resources in so far as needed to reach project goals

    Gender is central to achieving positive development outcomes

    Changing gender norms, roles and access to resources a key component of project outcomes

    Gender is central to promoting gender equality and achieving positive development outcomes

    Transforming unequal gender relations to promote shared power, control of resources, decision-making, and support for womens empowerment


Gender and Development

    The Gender and Development (GAD) approach was developed as a response to the failure of WID projects to effect qualitative and long-lasting changes in womens social status. GAD focuses on social, economic, political and cultural forces that determine how men and women participate in, benefit from, and control project resources and activities differently. This approach shifts the focus from women as a group to the socially determined relations between women and men.