2. Planning: Analysis and design of development programmes

Well-designed and effective programming based on analysis and clear policies and strategies is at the core of development co-operation for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.1

The design process of any development programme needs to respond to the context and circumstances of the planned activity. All development interventions will have some type of impact on gender equality – whether intended or not. Programme design informed by analysis, based on factors such as the economic and social situation, power and politics, can identify opportunities and risks for gender equality. Thorough analysis, along with indicators and identification of results, is the backbone of effective programmes. A positive correlation has been proven between integrating gender equality into a project’s context analysis and achieving gender equality results (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), 2018[1]).

The application of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) gender equality policy marker criteria is an important step in the planning phase of any development or humanitarian initiative.

The DAC gender marker monitors the policy intention of development activities. These are scored as addressing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls if gender equality is either one important and deliberate objective amongst others, or if it is the main objective of the activity (OECD, 2020[2]) (Chapter 4). The Handbook on the gender Equality Policy Marker recommends that DAC members ensure, for any activity scored as addressing gender equality, that:

  • a gender analysis has been conducted,

  • the analysis has informed the design,

  • there are gender equality objectives and indictors, with a commitment to monitor and report on gender equality results (OECD, 2016[3]).

Gender analysis is a systematic, analytical process to help explain power dynamics, gender norms and intersecting inequalities, and where, how and why women may be treated differently and are often disproportionately affected in certain situations (Enabel, 2018[4]). Used as a tool to demonstrate the gender equality dimensions of any sector or issue, gender analysis reveal the ways in which policies and programmes impact all individuals, and how they are not inherently gender neutral (UNDP, 2016[5]).2

The analysis and questions worth asking in this process will depend on the objectives of the programme, the extent to which achieving gender equality is a focus, and the context. Questions to ask in the planning phase and during the implementation of any programme include, but are not limited to:3

  • What are the opportunities for the programme to promote gender equality and/or the empowerment of women and girls, even if it is not its main purpose?

  • How can gender equality components contribute to better development outcomes?

  • What risks exist in the context of this programme/sector and how might they be mitigated, including by greater attention to gender equality?

  • How will interventions affect girls and women, boys and men, or their participation, differently and how will the programme address this?

  • What are the gender differences in roles and responsibilities; in power relations, voice and decision-making; and attitudes and behaviour around being a man or a woman, and how do these impact programme design, including the identification of gender equality outcomes?

  • What are the factors that advance or impede gender equality and sustainable development, such as politics, norms, belief systems and so on?

  • Which women, girls, men and boys are most at risk of marginalisation and why – which laws, policies and organisations limit opportunities of different groups?

  • Who might be negatively impacted by the programme?

  • Who is being consulted? Are local women and women’s rights organisations involved in planning, design and decision making on the programme?

  • Will the programme address women’s practical needs; improve opportunities, choices and decision making for empowerment; and/or support transformational change towards gender equality?

  • Which other actors are active in the given context and country?

Responding to these questions will include working across areas and teams within the institution to ensure a well-informed approach. This requires adequate capacity and expertise on gender equality analysis. Neglecting the broader and contextual gender norms and power dynamics at play can result in missed opportunities and perpetuation of existing inequality and power imbalances (DfID & FCO, 2019[6]).

In emergencies, gender analysis can helpfully compare the state of gender equality prior to the crisis with changes since the initiation of the crisis. It is helpful to have existing gender equality analysis ready, which needs to be continuously updated. Questions to ask might include but are not limited to:

  • Are the capacities and needs of different individuals the same as before the crisis or have they changed?

  • Is there a fair (paid and unpaid) workload distribution between individuals? How does the distribution impact their respective rights and opportunities? Who makes decisions about the use of resources? Are needs met equitably?

  • How do women and men help or hinder each other in meeting their needs and fulfilling their rights? Who perpetrates violence against whom? What roles do institutions and the community play in meeting needs and rights, as well as in addressing and preventing violence (Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2018[7])?

Recognition that development work is inherently political has increased, and efforts are being made to set up politically informed approaches to strategic analysis and development work to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls (Laws and Marquette, 2018[8]). Strategic political analysis can provide a thorough understanding of a local context, which can inform a comprehensive response and encourage ongoing adaptation during both the design and the implementation of programmes (Oxfam International, 2014[9]). Relying on a single method of analysis to inform the design of a programme runs the risk of providing an incomplete picture of what is needed to address gender equality.

Political economy analysis is a tool some DAC members use for a politically informed agenda and for exploring the role that economic and social forces and the distribution of power play in managing resources in development partner countries and thus, development outcomes (Oxfam International, 2014[9]; USAID, 2018[10]). Analysis of this kind is used by some DAC members to study the intricacies of institutional and human relationships that affect the outcomes of a development programme, and to inform strategic programme design that responds to these realities by re-evaluating and course correcting (USAID, 2018[10]). Inclusive growth diagnostics is a similar form of analysis that encourages consideration of political contexts and corruption as a barrier to development. It can also be applied to gender equality.

Theories of change have become important tools for mapping and testing assumptions about how gender equality change happens and for building strategic linkages between expected results and activities that are supported. A theory-of-change approach involves asking a series of questions, including:

  • What do we want to change?

  • What do we know about how change happens in relation to the change we want to see – is there evidence to back this up, or are there assumptions to be tested?

  • How can that change be supported?

  • How will we know change has happened?

Building a shared understanding, or at least some hypotheses, about how change is expected to happen is an essential part of developing a theory of change. This is an opportunity to understand stakeholders’ underlying beliefs about the activities and the processes of change. In such endeavours, it is advisable to involve women’s organisations and key stakeholders who are well-acquainted with the context. A theory of change can be used alongside the standard theory of action (logical framework), which outlines how inputs or activities are expected to contribute to changes, and what types of indicators (quantitative and quantitative) can help track the change that is happening.

A key tool for any theory of change from a gender perspective is a strong intersectional and context analysis. For gender-mainstreamed interventions, developing a theory of change can help illuminate when and how gender norms and power relations may subvert or support assumptions underpinning programme logic, and what other contextual or environmental factors will influence programme or policy outcomes. It is useful to engage different teams in the institutions, as well as external stakeholders. It can also help illuminate additional efforts that may be needed to ensure that all women benefit or participate equitably and meaningfully – including those who are also members of a minority or a vulnerable group. It is also important that risks for women or for gender equality are addressed effectively.

One of the advantages of a theory-of-change approach for gender equality interventions is the flexibility to depict the complexity of gender equality change, which is multifactorial and often nonlinear. It also provides an important tool to accompany and guide programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation and to check assumptions against results. It can be revised to reflect emergent outcomes and new indicators of change as they are described by programme stakeholders. A theory of change can help programme stakeholders regularly assess and refine their “navigational map” of how to achieve change together (Effective Institutions Platform, 2020[12]).

DAC members can integrate a theory-of-change approach for each new programme, strategy or policy, and use the theory of change to guide design and develop outcomes and indicators on gender equality, as well as monitoring, evaluation and learning.

Development programmes will have gender-differentiated outcomes and impacts regardless of whether they are intended or not. It can be helpful to apply the gender equality continuum framework, identifying what type of gender equality results are expected from “gender blind” to “gender transformative”, and how decisions can influence this (Chapter 1).

The application of such a framework helps to explain how the consideration, or lack thereof, of gender and gendered norms and roles in the design of a programme may shape its outcomes. When strategically applied, a gender equality continuum framework can help to move programmes along the different phases of the gender equality continuum. The DAC gender equality policy marker score should also be defined at this stage. This applies for official development assistance (ODA)-funded programmes but is equally valid for engagement with the private sector, including as a part of blended finance vehicles (see Chapter 4).

To design the most appropriate and effective programmes, DAC members should use a gender analysis to identify what has achieved success, and where there is the greatest need, in a local context.

Participatory approaches, for example community consultations and meeting with women’s rights organisations, can help to understand their needs (DfID & FCO, 2019[6]). DAC members may need to find alternative ways to include women, and targeted efforts may be needed to include feedback from relevant groups. Gender analysis can also help build understanding of appropriate accountability mechanisms with and for affected populations.

DAC institutions can also consider the mandate and potential strengths of other ministries and institutions in the same DAC country, and opportunities for collaborating through a whole-of-government approach.

Identifying, acknowledging and managing risks allows development co-operation actors to achieve their objectives, and should be an integral part of decision making. Key steps include: identifying risks and opportunities for reaching set objectives; assessing the impact and likelihood of risks; deciding on measures to address and mitigate risks; and implementing measures to monitor the evolution of new and existing risks (OECD, 2021[13]).

Failing to analyse and address gender inequalities can put development programmes at risk (Austrian Development Agency, 2019[14]). Gender-based violence, for example, may remain invisible, taboo and under-reported, or an unintended increase in women’s unpaid care work burden may result (Council of Europe, 2018[15]). Risk may also include a backlash against gender equality. Some evidence has emerged, for example, that the economic empowerment of women can be linked to an increased prevalence of domestic violence (Désilets et al., 2019[16]).

In addition, the risk of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment during the implementation of programmes also needs to be scrutinised. Finally, DAC members need to be conscious of the potential risks faced by local organisations working for women’s rights and take steps to reduce them.

Entrenched systems of gender inequality are often intensified in humanitarian emergencies, many of which expose how increased vulnerability and unequal access to resources systematically disadvantage women. Immediate action to address the impact of natural disasters, armed conflicts, and other complex crises, require the same level of attention to gender inequalities, often in different ways from long-term development programmes (Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2018[7]). Short-term humanitarian goals need to be in line with – and should not undermine – long-term development priorities, including for gender equality. This should be framed within the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus, and aligned with the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

Both during emergencies and long-term development programming, an inclusive, bottom-up, approach can ensure that gaps in knowledge are filled, programmes are adapted to local needs/contexts, and that international actors are not inadvertently imposing neo-colonial agendas. This should include engaging women-led civil society actors in the process of designing programmes. As members of crisis-affected communities, women as well as men play a central role in the survival and resilience of their families and communities (Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2018[7]). Expanding beyond the geographic centre of countries requires programmes to be adapted to those communities and their needs. In any humanitarian emergency, it is often local actors, including women’s organisations and movements, who are the first to respond. Care should be taken to ensure that local authorities, movements and responders are supported by international actors (OECD, 2017[17]).

Humanitarian emergencies can compound discrimination and exacerbate risks, but crises may also provide opportunities for addressing inequalities and promoting transformative change for gender equality (Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2018[7]).

All development programmes need to have flexibility to shift resources or change priorities to some degree. While this is important, it cannot be used as an excuse to minimise the gender equality focus of the programme.

An adaptive approach – beyond flexibility – is necessary for programmes focused on complex challenges and in uncertain contexts. In these situations, teams need to deliberately test and experiment to find out what works. It may require fundamental shifts in mind-sets, behaviour and power imbalances. Adaptive programming involves learning through honest reflection, not only on achievements and progress but also on setbacks and challenges, and empowering delivery teams to take risks and experiment (Laws et al., 2021[18]). It may also require adjustments to outcomes and related indicators in performance management systems.

While the DAC gender marker score should be identified and applied at the design stage, it is possible to revise the marker score during programme implementation if needed, should the context and programme objectives change.

A Shift is under way from activity reporting on gender equality (for example, the number of women receiving leadership training) to capturing the results or outcomes of a gender equality intervention (for example, the increased ability of women to influence decision-making processes in their organisation or community). Outcomes are defined as a measurable change in knowledge, awareness, skills or abilities (sometimes described as immediate outcomes) and/or changes in behaviour, practice or performance (sometimes described as intermediate outcomes). Each development partner may use slightly different results terminology.

Sex and age-disaggregated information and data are essential for understanding the different needs, priorities, opportunities and barriers that individuals and different groups of people face. The availability of such data is a core part of a programme with gender equality as a significant (integrated) objective or as the principal (dedicated) objective, as set out in the Handbook on the OECD-DAC Gender Equality Policy Marker (OECD, 2016[3]), but should ideally be adopted in all programmes. Disaggregation by multiple and intersecting identity factors helps to understand how these interact with being a “woman”, a “man” and “gender diverse”, and serves to expose hidden trends by rendering all groups of women and girls visible (DfID & FCO, 2019[6]). This also includes disaggregating data by non-binary gender identities when possible. Baseline studies can also be conducted to collect gender data in the geographical location or sector where the project will be carried out.4

Development results are “the outputs, outcomes or impacts of development interventions, with each element contributing to the next”, as set out in a results chain of inputs > outputs > outcomes > impact. The links between each element are as important as the results themselves, reflecting the theory of change and the roles of providers and other stakeholders” (OECD, n.d.[19]).

When gender equality results are explicitly identified in results frameworks in the design phase, there tends to be greater attention, action and accountability for gender equality.5 The specific gender equality results sought will depend on the programme. Dedicated gender equality programmes are by design expected to generate gender equality results.

Where gender equality is mainstreamed into sectoral programs and policies, steps need to be taken to ensure that gender results are explicitly formulated where possible, based on gender analysis and indicators.

Appropriate gender indicators need to be developed at the design phase of a programme and monitored throughout the programme to determine the extent to which the intended policy intention is being realised during implementation. The indicators may need to be reviewed.

An indicator is a “quantitative or qualitative factor or variable that provides a simple and reliable means to measure achievement, to reflect the changes connected to an intervention, or to help assess the performance of a development actor” (OECD, 2002[20]).

It is good practice to use both quantitative (numeric data: “how much”) and qualitative (“how well/effective”) indicators on gender equality, since they complement and cross-validate each other.

There is, however, often a preference for quantitative indicators over qualitative indicators in results monitoring and evaluation. Qualitative indicators are based on descriptive information. Qualitative changes can be more difficult to measure, because responses are not standardised. However, qualitative data provides a richness and a depth of information, even if data are more labour-intensive to collect. Qualitative indicators can also be transformed to quantitative with descriptive scales. For example, perceptions of women activists on their “knowledge and skills to engage in effective advocacy initiatives on violence” could be ranked on a numerical scale. Analysis of data collected through qualitative indicators also helps to establish new sets of quantitative measures for future programming.

The identification of gender indicators needs to be based on gender analysis. There are multiple global results and related indicators that DAC members use to track their gender equality results, and a variety of composite indices drawing on available data to track global trends on gender equality.6 The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including but not limited to SDG5 – “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” – are increasingly guiding the higher-level gender equality indicators for many development projects and interventions.7 The data for SDG gender equality indicators largely originate in national statistical institutes. Efforts are under way to support these institutes to improve the production, accessibility and use of gender statistics, but DAC members can increase this support.8

It is important to involve stakeholders in the definition of gender indicators for specific efforts to help ensure relevance and partner ownership (Box 2.5). This also helps to identify levels of commitment and capacity to collect data on gender indicators.

The list of tested gender indicators to draw from is growing, but gender indicators need to be tailored and appropriate to the policy and programme objectives. The selection of gender indicators also depends on the scale of the intervention, the availability of gender statistics and the capacity of the actors involved in the data collection.

When defining outcomes and selecting relevant indicators, it is important to consider the timeframe for expected outcomes of policies, programmes or projects, which may take place over a short-term, medium-term or long-term period.

When possible, DAC members should engage programme stakeholders in participatory processes to set gender equality indicators that are relevant to their own results monitoring, evaluation and learning needs and to invest in their monitoring and evaluation capacity where necessary.

It is helpful to consider using different types of indicators in relation to different types of outcomes and at different stages over the course of an intervention:9

  • Process/progress indicators (output indicators) are useful for measuring the delivery of activities and demonstrating that the programme or project is on course and performing the activities that it set out to do, for example: “number of training sessions on women’s rights held in a target community”;

  • (Immediate) Outcome indicators measure the direct results of activities and show that they are having the intended effect, for example: “number of women who show increased awareness of their rights after attending a training session”;

  • (Intermediate) Outcome indicators measure the longer-term results of interventions and provide evidence that they will have a lasting effect on the lives of women living in poverty, for example: “a decrease in the incidence of gender-based violence, as more men and women come to understand that the use of violence violates women’s rights”.

Basket or standard indicators for gender equality can helpfully be used by DAC members for programmes that include multiple and diverse stakeholders (Box 2.5 and Annex B). The value of this approach is that it allows partners to formulate indicators in a language that is consistent with their programme narrative, while also ensuring alignment with a set of standard or basket indicators. This facilitates the aggregation of data at the programme level, while giving greater flexibility to programme partners to determine indicators that work for them (see Annex B for a matrix of sample basket indicators).

What transformative change looks like will be context-specific and different for different groups of women and girls. A useful framework for examining gender-transformative change is to look at change across three key dimensions: agency, relations and structures.

The use of an intersectional gender analysis is good practice to ensure that gender indicators are as inclusive as possible, exploring the interaction of multiple aspects of identity (Canada Treasury Board Secretariat, 2019[21]).10 An intersectional analysis provides a framework for understanding the complex impacts of overlapping inequalities on people’s lives (see Chapter 1). An increasing number of tools are available to support intersectional analysis, although much has yet to be learned about their practical application (see Annex 2). At a minimum, integrating an intersectional lens requires asking additional questions about which groups of people will be affected directly or indirectly by the proposed initiative, and creating opportunities for consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Taking these steps will help to identify what, if any, additional disaggregated data will be required and what appropriate methods for data collection will be needed. For example, depending on the focus, indicator development and monitoring might consider:

  • changes in different groups’ assets/income and/or access to services

  • changes in different groups’ voice and ability to influence

  • experiences of gender-based violence by different groups.

These changes should be measured using both quantitative and qualitative data. Changes in systems, including both informal behaviour and formal policies and structures, should also be documented (International Development Partners Group, Nepal, 2017[22]).

Collecting such data should avoid seeking to fit programme participants into simple social identity boxes that may have the unintended consequence of entrenching or even enforcing inequitable definitions and perspectives (We All Count, 2021[23]). Identity components are complex, fluid and highly private and personal. This requires working closely with stakeholders, allowing them space to self-identify, decide the appropriate social variables to measure and to identify additional safety and security concerns that may arise from collecting intersectional data from them.


[14] Austrian Development Agency (2019), Risk management Strategy of the Austrian Development Agency, Austrian Development Agency, https://www.entwicklung.at/fileadmin/user_upload/Dokumente/Risikomanagement/EN_Strategy_Risik_management_FINAL.pdf.

[26] Canada (2019), Gender Analysis, https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/funding-financement/gender_analysis-analyse_comparative.aspx?lang=eng (accessed on 6 July 2021).

[21] Canada Treasury Board Secretariat (2019), Integrating Gender-Based Analysis Plus into Evaluation: A primer, https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/audit-evaluation/evaluation-government-canada/gba-primer.html.

[15] Council of Europe (2018), Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023, Council of Europe, https://rm.coe.int/prems-093618-gbr-gender-equality-strategy-2023-web-a5/16808b47e1.

[16] Désilets, L. et al. (2019), Exploring the Impacts of Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiatives on Domestic Violence, Oxfam, https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/620867/rr-womens-economic-empowement-domestic-violence-120919-en.pdf;jsessionid=92C4A22C272C1BFB61865B5125BA04D6?sequence=2.

[6] DfID & FCO (2019), ‘How To’ Guidance Note on Gender Equality: A Practical Guide to Integrating Gender Equality into DFID and HMG Policy and Programming (internal document), Department for International Development and Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

[12] Effective Institutions Platform (2020), Lessons Harvesting: Learning from P2P Engagements, Discussion Paper for a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework, https://www.effectiveinstitutions.org/files/Learning_Lessons_from_P2P_Engagements.pdf.

[4] Enabel (2018), 2019-2023 Gender Strategy Paper, Belgian development agency, https://www.enabel.be/sites/default/files/gender_strategy_2019_2023_enabel_en.pdf (accessed on 15 July  2021).

[11] European Commission (2017), Collection of Good Practices in Mainstreaming Gender into European External Action From the 2017 Annual Implementation Report of the EU Gender Action Plan II.

[7] Inter-Agency Standing Committee (2018), The Gender Handbook for Humanitarian Action, Inter-Agency Standing Committee, https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-09/The%20Gender%20Handbook%20for%20Humanitarian%20Action.pdf (accessed on 1 October 2021).

[22] International Development Partners Group, Nepal (2017), A Common Framework for Gender Equality & Social Inclusion, https://www.undp.org/content/dam/nepal/docs/generic/GESI%20framework%20Report_Final_2017.pdf.

[8] Laws, E. and H. Marquette (2018), Thinking and working politically: Reviewing the evidence on the integration of politics into development practice over the past decade, https://twpcommunity.org/thinking-and-working-politically-reviewing-the-evidence.pdf (accessed on 26 July 2021).

[18] Laws, E. et al. (2021), LearnAdapt: a synthesis of our work on adaptive programming with DFID/FCDO (2017–2020), Overseas Development Institute LearnAdapt, UK AID, https://odi.org/en/publications/learnadapt-a-synthesis-of-our-work-on-adaptive-programming-with-dfidfcdo-20172020/ (accessed on 10 February 2022).

[13] OECD (2021), Development Co-operation Fundamentals, https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/view/?ref=1099_1099381-sn55xo62ml&title=Risk-management&_ga=2.245760141.828416308.1632812723-985109711.1524817040.

[2] OECD (2020), DAC Converged Statistical Reporting Directives, https://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/.

[17] OECD (2017), Localising the response, World Humanitarian Summit, https://www.oecd.org/development/humanitarian-donors/docs/Localisingtheresponse.pdf.

[3] OECD (2016), Handbook on the OECD-DAC Gender Equality Policy Marker, OECD Publishing, https://www.oecd.org/dac/gender-development/Handbook-OECD-DAC-Gender-Equality-Policy-Marker.pdf (accessed on 11 May 2021).

[20] OECD (2002), Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management, https://www.oecd.org/dac/evaluation/2754804.pdf.

[25] OECD (n.d.), Glossary of Statistical Terms, https://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=2219#:~:text=Advanced%20%20Filter.%20Web%20%20Service.%20OECD%20Statistics.,data%20expressing%20a%20certain%20quantity%2C%20amount%20or%20range.

[19] OECD (n.d.), What are results?, https://www.oecd.org/dac/results-development/what-are-results.htm (accessed on 24 August 2021).

[9] Oxfam International (2014), How Politics and Economics Intersect: A simple guide to conducting political economy and context analysis, Oxfam International; Oxford Policy Management, https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/312056/ml-how-politics-and-economics-intersect-270114-en.pdf;jsessionid=8ABC5DA7DCF65E5AA3979DA6A1F010E7?sequence=4 (accessed on 27 July 2021).

[24] SDC (2020), Status Report on Gender Equality 2020: Stepping Up our Efforts, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, https://www.shareweb.ch/site/Gender/Documents/Gender%20Policies/SDC%20Gender%20Policy/Annual%20Status%20Report/Gender_Status_Report_2020.pdf.

[1] Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) (2018), Report on Effectiveness: Swiss international cooperation in the field of gender equality 2007-2016, https://www.eda.admin.ch/deza/en/home/publikationen_undservice/publikationen/alle-deza-publikationen.html/content/publikationen/en/deza/wirkungsberichte/Wirkungsbericht-Geschlechtergleichstellung-2007-2016.html (accessed on 10 February 2022).

[5] UNDP (2016), How to Conduct a Gender Analysis: A guidance note for UNDP staff, https://info.undp.org/sites/bpps/SES_Toolkit/SES%20Document%20Library/Uploaded%20October%202016/UNDP%20Guidance%20Note%20how%20to%20conduct%20a%20gender%20analysis.pdf (accessed on 20 July 2021).

[10] USAID (2018), Thinking and Working Politically Through Applied Political Economy Analysis, https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1866/PEA2018.pdf (accessed on 26 July 2021).

[23] We All Count (2021), We All Count, https://weallcount.com/.

For more information on gender analysis in development co-operation, see Global Affairs Canada’s “Gender Analysis”: https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/funding-financement/gender_analysis-analyse_comparative.aspx?lang=eng. The complementary “Gender Analysis Guidelines” page provides insight into how to carry out gender analysis: https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/funding-financement/policy-politique.aspx?lang=eng#a5.

Theories of change can be used more broadly to create change and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and to address specific issues, such as violence against women and girls. See the Department for International Development’s (UK) “How to note on using a theory of change to tackle violence against women and girls”: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/67336/how-to-note-vawg-1.pdf.

For more information on ending violence against women and girls theory of change, including its guiding principles and detailed implementation strategy, see Oxfam Canada’s “Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Theory of Change: Creating space for women and girls to end violence and child marriage” resource: https://42kgab3z3i7s3rm1xf48rq44-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Oxfam-Canada-EVAWG-Theory-of-Change-2021.pdf.

For information on using theory of change to strengthen civil society, see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands’ “Executive summary Strengthening Civil Society Theory of Change”: https://www.government.nl/binaries/government/documents/policy-notes/2019/11/28/policy-framework-strengthening-civil-society/Annex+5+%28Engels%29+-+Strengthening+Civil+Society+-+Theory+of+Change.pdf.

For information on the difference between a theory of change versus a logical framework, in the context of exploring practical tools for international development, visit the website: https://tools4dev.org/resources/theory-of-change-vs-logical-framework-whats-the-difference-in-practice/.

UN Women’s “A Theory of Change for Training for Gender Equality” working paper includes guidelines for developing principles for theories of change in training for gender equality: https://trainingcentre.unwomen.org/RESOURCES_LIBRARY/Resources_Centre/01%20Theory%20of%20Change.pdf.

For further reading and resources on theories of change, see INTRAC’s “Theory of Change” resource: https://www.intrac.org/wpcms/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Monitoring-and-Evaluation-Planning-Series.-Theory-of-Change.-16.pdf.

Some DAC members use tools such as CARE International’s Rapid Gender Analysis when both time and resources are scarce, to understand contextual gender norms and relations and how they might be exacerbated by an emergency. For more information, see: https://insights.careinternational.org.uk/in-practice/rapid-gender-analysis.

For more information regarding quantitative vs. qualitative data and indicators:

Quantitative data are data expressing a certain quantity, amount or range. Usually, there are measurement units associated with the data, e.g. metres, in the case of the height of a person. It makes sense to set boundary limits to such data, and it is also meaningful to apply arithmetic operations to the data.

Quantitative methods of data collection produce quantifiable results. In other words, they focus on issues that can be counted, such as percentages of women and men in the labour market, male and female wage rates, or school enrolment rates for girls and boys. Quantitative data can show the magnitude of changes in gender equality over time – for example, the percentage of women married before the age of 15 or the gender pay gap over time.

Qualitative data are “data describing the attributes or properties that an object possesses. The properties are categorised into classes that may be assigned numeric values. However, there is no significance to the data values themselves, they simply represent attributes of the object concerned”.

Qualitative methods and data can often help understand patterns that may be identified through quantitative methods by determining whether the analysis resonates with participants. Typically, qualitative methods capture people’s experiences, opinions, attitudes and feelings - for example, women’s experiences of the constraints or advantages of working in the informal sector, or men’s and women’s views on the causes and consequences of underrepresentation of women in senior positions in the economy or in politics. Often, participatory methods such as focus group discussions and social mapping tools are used to collect data for qualitative indicators. Qualitative data can also be collected through in-depth surveys measuring perceptions and opinions (OECD, n.d.[25]).

The use of mixed methods approaches in evaluation is considered good practice in the development sector. This applies equally to evaluation of gender equality programmes and policies. Mixed methods designs can: strengthen the reliability of data; increase the validity of the findings and recommendations; broaden and deepen understanding of the processes through which programme outcomes and impacts are achieved and how these are affected by the context within which the programme is implemented; capture a wider range of perspectives; and reveal unanticipated results. Qualitative methods are not by default less rigorous than quantitative methods. There is more guidance now available for evaluators and researchers to increase the quality of qualitative data and to hold up high standards of confidence, meet international best practice standards and strengthen sampling and triangulation. Similarly, there is increased understanding of the inherent gender and other biases built into quantitative methods of data collection.

For more resources on indicators:

For information on gender-sensitive indicators, see Oxfam’s Quick Guide to Gender-Sensitive Indicators: https://www.fsnnetwork.org/sites/default/files/ml-quick-guide-to-gender-indicators-300114-en.pdf.

For a selection of potential indicators from which practitioners can choose to aid in the monitoring of results for gender equality, see the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency’s “Indicators for Measuring Results on Gender Equality”: https://www.sida.se/en/publications/indicators-for-measuring-results-on-gender-equality.

For a practical resource designed to assist development practitioners to incorporate gender perspectives into development initiatives, see the “Tool Kit on Gender Equality Results and Indicators” developed by the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Australia: https://www.oecd.org/derec/adb/tool-kit-gender-equality-results-indicators.pdf.

For information on gender-responsive indicators, including what information is required to make indicators gender-responsive, how to ensure indicators are gender-responsive for project implementation, and how gender-responsive indicators can be divided for different sectors, see the UNDP’s resource “Gender Responsive Indicators: Gender and NDC [nationally determined contributions] planning for implementation”: https://www.undp.org/content/dam/LECB/docs/pubs-reports/undp-ndcsp-gender-indicators-2020.pdf.

For information on how violence monitoring efforts and early warning systems can better integrate gender-sensitive indicators, see the International Foundation for Electoral Systems’ ”Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Early Warning of Violence and Conflict: A global framework” resource: https://www.ifes.org/publications/gender-sensitive-indicators-early-warning-violence-and-conflict-global-framework.

For information on gender statistics and indicators, and how a gender perspective can be integrated into the collection, analysis and presentation of data, as well as tools for data collection, see the European Institute for Gender Equality’s “Gender statistics and indicators”: https://eige.europa.eu/gender-mainstreaming/methods-tools/gender-statistics-indicators.

Global Affairs Canada’s “Results-Based Management Tip Sheet 4.1 – Gender Equality” provides information on gender equality outcomes, gender-sensitive indicators in the performance measurement framework, and sex-disaggregated baseline data and targets. See the website for more information: https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/funding-financement/rbm-gar/tip_sheet_4_1-fiche_conseil_4_1.aspx?lang=eng.

CARE USA “Measuring gender-transformative change: A review of literature and promising practices” explores gender-transformative measurement, evaluation and learning systems as well as indicators of gender-transformative change: https://www.care.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/working_paper_aas_gt_change_measurement_fa_lowres.pdf.

For an accessible guide to intersectionality, see the Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy’s “Intersectionality 101”: http://vawforum-cwr.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/intersectionallity_101.pdf.

For information on intersectionality as a tool for analysis, advocacy and policy development, see the Association for Women’s Rights in Development’s “Intersectionality: A Tool for Gender and Economic Justice”: https://www.awid.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/intersectionality_a_tool_for_gender_and_economic_justice.pdf.

The World Bank has developed a set of indicators for sexual orientation and gender identity across key development sectors, which provide insights on integrating indicators that reflect an intersectional lens. For more information, see “A Set of Proposed Indicators for the LGBTI Inclusion Index”: https://documents.worldbank.org/en/publication/documents-reports/documentdetail/608921536847788293/a-set-of-proposed-indicators-for-the-lgbti-inclusion-index.

For more information on quantitative research applications of intersectionality, the integration of theoretical frameworks and innovative methods, see “Intersectionality in quantitative research: A systematic review of its emergence and applications of theory and methods”, published in Social Science and Medicine Population Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095182/.

The Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women’s “Gender Equality and Intersectional Analysis Toolkit” provides a practical instrument for the application of gender equality and intersectional analysis in the systematic assessment of policies, campaigns or initiatives: https://www.criaw-icref.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Gender equality -and-Intersectional-Analysis.pdf.


← 1. In this document, the term “programme” should be understood as referring to all types of development interventions, including projects.

← 2. Seventeen DAC members indicated that they require a gender-based analysis to be carried out before the design phase of a programme. Ten DAC members indicated that their appraisal and analysis processes included a guide or template on gender equality, and six members required that a budget be incorporated into the design phase of a programme, indicating financial resources that will be required to support the advancement of gender equality.

← 3. Adapted from: Canada (2019[26]) Gender Analysis; (DfID & FCO, 2019[6]); (Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2018[7]).

← 4. See https://www.oecd.org/gender/governance/toolkit/government/assessment-of-gender-impact/disaggregated-data/

← 5. Eight DAC members reported using a “results framework” as a system for monitoring and evaluation, although the level at which these frameworks operate, and the extent to which they measure gender equality, vary. DAC members take a variety of approaches to include gender equality in their results reporting. Eleven members noted that they have made the inclusion of gender equality mandatory or compulsory. Four other members provided structures and the encouragement to include gender equality in results reporting, but did not describe it as mandatory, and three others noted that there were no specific or mandatory requirements concerning gender equality in the institution’s results reporting structures.

← 6. Composite indices include the OECD Development Centre’s Social Institutions and Gender Index, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report’s Gender Inequality Index and the Equal Measures 2030 Gender Advocates Data Hub.

← 7. See https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/indicators-list/

← 8. For example the Making Every Woman and Girl Count initiative: https://www.unwomen.org/en/how-we-work/flagship-programmes/making-every-woman-and-girl-count.

← 9. This list is adapted from: “Quick Guide to Gender-Sensitive Indicators” (fsnnetwork.org)

← 10. Three DAC members included requirements for addressing intersecting inequalities within their results reporting, two of which also incorporated reporting for transformative results. However, three members also noted that they were working to incorporate transformative results within their reporting structures going forward.

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