Gender and Indicators
What does a world without gender inequality look like? Realising this vision requires inspiring and mobilising social change. But what would indicate we are on the right track - and how will we know when we get there? Gender-sensitive indicators and other measurements of change are critical - for building the case for taking gender (in)equality seriously, for enabling better planning and actions, and for holding institutions accountable for their commitments on gender.
This Cutting Edge Pack hopes to inspire thinking on these questions - with an Overview Report outlining key issues, a Supporting Resources Collection providing summaries of key texts, tools, case studies and contacts of organisations in this field, and a Gender and Development In Brief newsletter with three short articles on the theme.
This Overview Report explains what is meant by gender-sensitive indicators and measurements of change; makes the case for gender-sensitive measurements; and outlines how to go about measuring in practice. It includes sections that focus on measuring the impact of gender mainstreaming and on assessing specific areas of gender inequality - such as gender-based violence or the gender dimensions of poverty. A range of international measurement instruments are discussed, including widely recognised goals and indices, as well as innovative new approaches. It argues that while the refinement of existing indices and indicators remains critical, gender-sensitive measurements alone do not achieve gender equality. In order to be useful, data must be collected, analysed, disseminated and then used.
Recommendations from the Overview Report
- A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods should be considered by all development organisations, from international agencies through to grassroots organisations, in order to cross check results and to generate a richer understanding of the data.
- The development of specific context-relevant gender-sensitive indicators – and the use of and reporting on those indicators – should be made obligatory within international development agencies, governments and grassroots organisations.
- In the context of the new aid modalities, donors and governments should establish accountability systems which track compliance with commitments to gender equality.
- Governments and gender ministries should support the capacity of national statistical offices to produce gender-sensitive data.
What practical lessons have been learned by those striving to identify progress that has been made towards gender equality, and how can they be of use to others? What approaches, indicators and statistics work in different regional and sectoral contexts? Such questions are frequently asked by policy-makers and practitioners who are involved in work such as: tracking the effectiveness of gender mainstreaming initiatives; measuring change in so-called especially ‘hard to measure’ areas such as poverty, empowerment, gender based violence and conflict; and monitoring and strengthening international instruments and indices. This Supporting Resources Collection provides summaries on key writings, tools and initiatives relating to gender and indicators with the aim of presenting a comprehensive overview of conceptual and methodological approaches. It highlights good practice examples and case studies from the grassroots to the international level. It also summarises toolkits designed to facilitate advocacy, programming and training; lists databases of gender statistics and provides networking and contact details of organisations working on gender and indicators.
In Brief is a six page newsletter that aims to stimulate thinking on a priority gender theme. This edition focuses on gender, indicators and measurements of change, starting with an overview article, followed by two distinctive case studies highlighting practical responses to key issues.
In the first, which examines the revisiting of the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) international Gender-related Development Indices (GDI) and Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), short and long-term recommendations for change are made. These include providing clear guidance on how the GDI and GEM should be interpreted and developing an alternative composite ‘female deprivation’ measure, composed of dimensions such as violence against women. The greatest challenge is to develop measures that can incorporate how broader enabling environments (e.g. legal and institutional frameworks) affect individual outcomes, such as literacy rates.
In the second article the example of participatory monitoring from Swayamsiddha, an innovative local project in India, shows how by developing indicators from the ground up project monitoring is seen less as ‘policing’ by external people and the results are more truly owned by those involved.