A gender-sensitive evaluation is a systematic and objective assessment of the design and planning (objectives, results pursued, activities planned), the implementation and results of an ongoing or completed activity, project, programme or policy from a gender perspective. It can take place either upon completion of the project, when focus is placed on gender impacts and the contribution of the programme to promoting gender equality, or throughout project implementation, with the aim of seeking to have a process of continuous improvement. It can also take place ex ante in order to evaluate how a policy can affect gender equality in a specific field. An evaluation exercise must take into account the indicators delineated in the planning phase and the information and data collected in the course of the policy or programme, as well as other knowledge and sources.
Evaluators should have gender expertise and the evaluation criteria, questions, methods and reports should integrate gender equality considerations. The evaluation report should be based on qualitative and quantitative data, disaggregated by sex, to measure results and long-term outcomes for both women and men. Ideally gender equality issues should be mainstreamed in all sections of the evaluation report, rather than mentioned only in a separate section on gender. Make your evaluation reports publicly available: this will build confidence between your institution and the target group(s) of your policy or programme.
Examples of gender-sensitive evaluation criteria
Widely used evaluation criteria are: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability:
- Relevance: Has the project/programme effectively contributed to the creation of favourable conditions for gender equality? Did it respond to the practical and strategic gender needs of women? Did it contribute to the national and EU policy commitments and mandates regarding gender equality? Was the treatment of gender equality issues throughout the implementation phase logical and coherent? Were adjustments made to respond to external factors of the project/programme (e.g. economic crisis, new government etc.) which influenced gender relationships?
- Efficiency: Has the implementation of the policy been efficient with respect to gender equality? Are the means and resources being used efficiently to achieve results in terms of improved benefits for both women and men? Have the results for women and men been achieved at reasonable cost, and have costs and benefits been allocated and received equitably?
- Effectiveness: Did the project/programme results turn out to be effective in achieving gender equality? Have the results contributed to the achievement of the planned results and outcomes, and have benefits favoured male and/or female target groups? Did stakeholders (organisations, institutions, indirect target groups) benefit from the interventions in terms of institutional capacity-building in the area of gender mainstreaming and the development of gender competence among their staff?
- Impact: What has been the impact of the project’s outcomes on wider policies, processes and programmes which enhance gender equality and women’s rights? For example, did it have an impact on reducing violence against women? Did it contribute to a more balanced distribution of unpaid care labour and family responsibilities between women and men? A gender-specific ex-post evaluation can also be used for projects/programmes without a gender equality perspective and will assess whether these have produced any (positive or negative) unintended or unexpected impacts on gender relations.
- Sustainability: Are achievements in gender equality likely to be sustained after funding ends? To what extent has ownership of the policy goals been achieved by male and female beneficiaries? To what extent have strategic gender needs of women and men been addressed through the project, and has this resulted in sustainable improvement of women’s rights and gender equality? To what extent has capacity for gender mainstreaming through the project been built and institutionalised?