Gender planning is an active approach to planning which takes gender as a key variable and seeks to integrate an explicit gender dimension into policies or action. It consists of planning the implementation phase of policies or programmes from a gender perspective.
Planning from a gender perspective requires the recognition of gender gaps and structural gender inequalities in each context. A gender diagnosis must always be the first phase of the gender planning methodology. A gender diagnosis is based on the rationale that women and men have different gender roles and different access to and control over resources which lead to structural gender inequalities. Thus, a gender diagnosis must comprise different entry strategies so as to collect proper data about the gender gaps, together with qualitative information about women’s and men’s lives and their gender relationships.
The gender planning process must consider a gender diagnosis as the starting point, in order to define the priorities, the objectives and the specific actions to be implemented in order to achieve the goals. The allocation of budget and other resources must also be done, to ensure that implementation is feasible. The plan should also integrate gender indicators to follow-up the progress, as well as gender-sensitive monitoring and evaluation.
Gender-focused participatory planning stems from the knowledge of the local reality, acquired through different participatory techniques and tools. This approach makes it possible to identify problems, needs and expectations of the women and men whose lives will be directly affected by the policy. This identification is followed by discussions and a prioritisation of the actions to be undertaken. Some elements should be taken into account when planning from a gender participatory perspective:
- Ensuring women’s participation, especially who may not be visible in traditional decision-making structures.
- Making sure that the time frame suits all participants, both women and men.
- Ensuring the participation of gender experts, especially in decision-making.
- Addressing not only women’s practical needs, but especially gender strategic interests.
- Making gender planning suitable for the local context.
- Monitoring the gender relationships between women and men during the process, in order to avoid the reproduction of gender power relations.
- Sharing the results and proposals with the target groups of the plan.