Introduction to gender concepts
Valentine J. Gandhi
Workshop on gender and value chains in the
LIVES Project, Adama, Ethiopia, 19-22 August
• Learning Objectives
• To define gender, gender concepts and terminologies
• To identify the differences between sex and gender.
• To discuss the difference between sex roles and gender
• To explore the relationship between gender and power.
• Learning Outcomes:
• Participants will have a sound understanding of gender
concepts and terminologies
• Let’s Define Gender?
• Let’s Define Sex?
• List some Jobs
Definition of Gender
• Gender refers to those characteristics and roles of
women and men that are socially constructed.
• What is Gender about?
• Social roles and relations between men and women in
• It affects all parts of our lives (social, economic and
• It changes over time.
• It is what we expect men and women to do and
• It is about how power is used and shared
• Entails the concept that all human beings, both men and women, are
free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the
limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles, or prejudices.
• Gender equality means that the different behaviours, aspirations and
needs of women and men are considered, valued and favoured
• It does not mean that women and men have to become the same,
but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not
depend on whether they are born male or female.
• Means fairness of treatment for women and men,
according to their respective needs.
• This may 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
requires built-in measures to compensate for the
historical and social disadvantages of women.
• Is a tool /set of tools to assist in strengthening development
planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and to make
programmes and projects more efficient and relevant.
• Gender analysis should go beyond cataloguing differences to
identifying inequalities and assessing relationships between women
• Gender analysis helps us to frame questions about women and
men's roles and relations in order to avoid making assumptions
about who does what, when and why.
• The aim of such analysis is to formulate development interventions
that are better targeted to meet both women's and men's needs
• Implies people – both women and men – taking control
over their lives by setting their own agendas, gaining
skills (or having their own skills and knowledge
recognized), increasing their self-confidence, solving
problems, and developing self-reliance.
• It is both a process and an outcome.
• Empowerment implies an expansion in women's ability
to make strategic life choices in a context where this
ability was previously denied to them.
• 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 so that women and men benefit equally
and inequality is not perpetuated.
• The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality
• Gender mainstreaming should be done in all areas and
at all levels in society.
• Gender-neutral approaches do not account for the differences between
women and men and do not consider how women and men may be
marginalized and harmed or may not benefit from research, programs and
• Gender aware (or responsive) approaches are designed to meet both
women’s and men’s needs. These approaches ensure that both women
and men will benefit, and neither will be harmed by research, programs
and policy, such as, for example, by exacerbating their work burdens.
• Gender transformative approaches actively strive to examine, question,
and change rigid gender norms and the imbalance of power as a means of
achieving development goals as well as meeting gender equity objectives.
These research, programmatic and policy approaches challenge the
distribution of resources and allocation of duties between men and
• Why is it a big deal?
• Abraham Lincoln’s Quote
• Consistent gender disparities in access to and benefits from
technologies, services and inputs across developing countries.
• Participation in and benefits from markets: Low female
membership in agricultural marketing cooperatives, lack of
important information on prices for marketing systems etc.
• Men and women are impacted differently by technologies,
interventions and other emerging threats such as climate change,
HIV/AIDs on women.
• Focus on gender can increase the productivity of agriculture and
livestock systems, and improve food security and nutrition.
• Findings have shown the importance of the explicit focus on gender
in promoting household poverty reduction.
• Meaningful representation in both men and women decision
making and policy bodies, in management positions, in research
and development is an important component of reducing gender
• The participation of men and women in agriculture research and
development leads to better decision outcomes, better
performance, creativity and innovation and this has been shown in
a variety of settings, occupations, and organizations (Pelled et al,
1999; Hamilton et al, 2003).
The potential gains from reducing gender disparities
• If women had the same resources as men, they could increase yields on their
farms by 20-30%
– raise agricultural output by 2.5-4% and reduce hungry people by 100-150
million (FAO, 2011)
• There is evidence that income under the control of women is more likely to be
used to improve family welfare
– women spend upto 90% of their income on their families, while men spend
– strengthening marital bargaining power and "voice" within the household
Extent of gender mainstreaming /integration in agriculture research and
development programs remains adhoc
– There is no evidence on what potential entry points bring the most benefits
or catalyse change
GaD vs WiD
• Women in Development (WID) is an approach that
emerged in the 1970s, with the goal of integrating
women more fully into the development process. It
includes strategies such as women – only projects and
credit and training projects for women.
• Gender and Development (GAD) Approach was
developed in 1980s in response to perceived failings of
the WID Approach. Rather than focusing exclusively on
women, this approach is concerned with relations
between women and men. It Challenges unequal
decision-making and power relations between not only
men and women but also between rich and poor
Practical and Strategic Gender Needs
• Practical Gender Needs (Practical Gender Issues)Practical Gender Needs
are related to immediate needs of living, such as food, drinking water, and
medical care. These needs can be fulfilled by providing inputs (such as
food, installation of wells, and establishment of clinics, etc.). Although the
situation of women may be improved by meeting their practical gender
needs, this alone can not be sufficient to change existing gender roles and
social relationships between men and women.
• Strategic Gender Needs (Strategic Gender Issues)Strategic gender needs
arise from women’s subordinate position and gender bias, such as lack of
resources and education, and inability to avert poverty and resist violence.
Although these strategic gender needs are commonly experienced by
many women, women may not be aware of their disadvantaged position
nor their potential powers to bring about change. To meet these strategic
gender needs, it is necessary to encompass social and political reforms
through the empowerment of women. These measures are seen as
relatively long-term objectives.