Glossary of gender related terms and concepts


Published on

Gender technical terms

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Glossary of gender related terms and concepts

  1. 1. Glossary of Gender-related Terms and ConceptsDeveloped by the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement ofWomen (INSTRAW): http://www.un-instraw.orgSexSex refers to the biological characteristics which define humans as female or male. These sets of biologicalcharacteristics are not mutually exclusive as there are individuals who possess both, but thesecharacteristics tend to differentiate humans as males and females. (WHO)GenderGender refers to the array of socially constructed roles and relationships, personality traits, attitudes,behaviours, values, relative power and influence that society ascribes to the two sexes on a differentialbasis. Whereas biological sex is determined by genetic and anatomical characteristics, gender is anacquired identity that is learned, changes over time, and varies widely within and across cultures. Genderis relational and refers not simply to women or men but to the relationship between themi.Gender EqualityGender equality entails the concept that all human beings, both men and women, are free to develop theirpersonal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles, orprejudices. Gender equality means that the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and menare considered, valued and favoured equally. It does not mean that women and men have to become thesame, but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are bornmale or femaleii.Gender EquityGender equity means fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. Thismay include equal treatment or treatment that is different but considered equivalent in terms of rights,benefits, obligations and opportunities. In the development context, a gender equity goal often requiresbuilt-in measures to compensate for the historical and social disadvantages of womeniii.Practical Gender NeedsPractical Gender Needs (PGNs) are identified by women within their socially defined roles, as a response toan immediate perceived necessity. PGNs usually relate to inadequacies in living conditions such as waterprovision, health care and employment, and they do not challenge gender divisions of labour and womenssubordinate position in societyiv.Strategic Gender InterestsStrategic Gender Interests (SGIs) are identified by women as a result of their subordinate social status,and tend to challenge gender divisions of labour power and control, and traditionally defined norms androles. SGIs vary according to particular contexts and may include such issues as legal rights, domesticviolence, equal wages, and womens control over their bodiesv.Gender AnalysisGender analysis is a systematic way of looking at the different impacts of development, policies, programsand legislation on women and men that entails, first and foremost, collecting sex-disaggregated data andgender-sensitive information about the population concerned. Gender analysis can also include theexamination of the multiple ways in which women and men, as social actors, engage in strategies totransform existing roles, relationships, and processes in their own interest and in the interest of othersvi.Gender MainstreamingGender mainstreaming is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any plannedaction, including legislation, policies or programmes, in any area and at all levels. It is a strategy formaking womens as well as mens concerns and experiences an integral dimension in the design,implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and socialspheres, such that inequality between men and women is not perpetuatedvii. [7]Gender Mainstreaming Principles 1
  2. 2. 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 resourcesviii.Gender-Neutral, Gender-Sensitive, and Gender TransformativeThe 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 men’s gender roles and relations (Gender Positive / Transformative)The degree of integration of a gender perspective in any given project can be seen as a continuumix: Gender Negative Gender Neutral Gender Sensitive Gender Positive Gender Transformative Gender inequalitiesGender is not Gender is a means Gender is central to Gender is central to are reinforced to considered relevant to reach set achieving positive promoting gender achieve desired to development development goals development equality and achieving development outcome outcomes positive development outcomes Addressing gender outcomes Gender norms, roles norms, roles and Changing gender Uses gender norms, and relations are access to resources norms, roles and Transforming unequal roles and not affected in so far as needed access to resources gender relations to stereotypes that (worsened or to reach project a key component of promote shared power, reinforce gender improved) goals project outcomes control of resources, inequalities decision-making, and support for women’s empowermentWomen in DevelopmentWomen in Development (WID) projects were an outcome of the realization that womens contributionswere being ignored and that this was leading to the failure of many development efforts. WID projectswere developed to involve women as participants and beneficiaries of development aid and initiativesx.Gender and DevelopmentThe Gender and Development (GAD) approach was developed as a response to the failure of WID projectsto effect qualitative and long-lasting changes in women’s social status. GAD focuses on social, economic,political and cultural forces that determine how men and women participate in, benefit from, and controlproject resources and activities differently. This approach shifts the focus from women as a group to thesocially determined relations between women and men.Participatory DevelopmentParticipatory development implies a partnership which is built on a dialogue among the various actors(stakeholders), during which the agenda is set jointly and a variety of local views and indigenous 2
  3. 3. knowledge are deliberately sought and respected. Participatory development implies negotiation ratherthan the dominance of an externally set project agendaxi.ResourcesResources are means and goods, including those that are economic (household income) or productive(land, equipment, tools, work, credit); political (capability for leadership, information and organization);and time.AccessAccess to resources implies that women are able to use and benefit from specific resources (material,financial, human, social, political, etc).ControlControl over resources implies that women can obtain access to a resource as and can also make decisionsabout the use of that resource. For example, control over land means that women can access land (use it),can own land (can be the legal title-holders), and can make decisions about whether to sell or rent theland.BenefitsEconomic, social, political and psychological retributions derived from the utilization of resources, includingthe satisfaction of both practical needs (food, housing) and strategic interests (education and training,political power)xiiEmpowermentEmpowerment implies people - both women and men - taking control over their lives: setting their ownagendas, gaining skills (or having their own skills and knowledge recognized), increasing self-confidence,solving problems, and developing self-reliance. It is both a process and an outcomexiii.Empowerment implied an expansion in womens ability to make strategic life choices in a context wherethis ability was previously denied to themxiv.Reproductive RightsReproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freelyand responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and meansto do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. They also includethe right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violencexv.Sexual rightsSexual rights embrace human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international humanrights documents and other consensus documents. These include the right of all persons, free of coercion,discrimination and violence, to: the highest attainable standard of health in relation to sexuality, includingaccess to sexual and reproductive health care services; seek, receive and impart information in relation tosexuality; sexuality education; respect for bodily integrity; choice of partner; decide to be sexually activeor not; consensual sexual relations; consensual marriage; decide whether or not, and when to havechildren; and pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual lifexvi. 3
  4. 4. i Exploring Concepts of Gender and Health. Ottawa: Health Canada, 2003 ABC of Women Workers Rights and Gender Equality, Geneva: ILO, 2000.iii Ibid. and Gender and Household Food Security. Rome: International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2001. Vainio-Mattila, A. Navigating Gender: A framework and a tool for participatory development. Helsinki: Finland Ministry for ForeignAffairs, 1999. Ibidvi ] Health Canada, 2003 and ILO 2000 and Gender and Biodiversity Research Guidelines. Ottawa: International Development ResearchCentre, 1998. ILOvii Agreed Conclusions on Gender Mainstreaming. Geneva: United Nations Economic and Social Council, 1997. ] Gender Equality and Equity: A summary review of UNESCOs accomplishments since the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing1995). Geneva: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations, 2000.ix Adapted from Eckman, A, 2002x Vainio-Mattila 1999xi Vainio-Mattila 1999xii Unveiling Gender: Basic Conceptual Elements for Understanding Equity. San Jose: World Conservation Union, 1999. IDRC 1998xiv ] Kabeer, N. “Reflections on the Measurement of Women’s Empowerment.” In Discussing Women’s Empowerment: Theory and Practice.Stockholm: Sida Studies No. 3, 2001.xv Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development. Geneva: United Nations, 1994, para 7.3 Gender and Reproductive Rights Glossary. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2002