Step 4: Weighing gender impact
In this phase it is important to establish how the policy or legislative measure will contribute to gender-equality, as well as to assess the foreseen impact in gender relations.
Once the effects of the proposed policy have been identified, they should be ‘measured’, taking into consideration the expected trends as previously identified. To do this, it may be useful to take into account the following criteria so as to weigh the positive, neutral or negative gender impact of any initiative:
1. Participation of women and men
The impact will be considered positive when a significant increase in the representation of the under-represented sex in the area is envisaged. In this sense, the expected result should be a balanced representation of women and men (no less than 40% for each sex) or, temporarily, at least in proportion to their overall presence in the area.
Fostering gender equality implies promoting the participation of women in the public sphere (politics, economy, employment, culture, etc.), and increasing men’s participation in domestic duties and care work.
Finally, it is necessary to highlight one exception to these general rules. When talking about women’s specific organisations, spaces or facilities to foster their empowerment and social involvement, it is paramount to understand that participation only by women is a relevant and accepted strategy to promote gender equality.
2. Access and control of resources
The aim is to analyse the access of women and men to essential resources such as education, employment, careers, health, time, money, power, information, new technologies, etc.
The impact will be considered positive when the elimination of existing gender gaps, or at least a significant reduction of them, is foreseen. This reduction should always be aimed at increasing the physical, emotional and economic empowerment of women. In the case of men, the focus should be to increase their involvement in housework and care work.
Furthermore, and in order to ensure equal control of resources, it is important to analyse the participation of women and men in decision-making in the field of the project, as outlined above.
3. Gender based social norms and values
The aim is to evaluate how the project will impact gender-based social norms and gender roles and how it will contribute to promoting the equal social value of women and men, femininity and masculinity.
The impact will be considered positive when:
- Mechanisms or structures that help to reproduce gender inequalities are modified. This means acting on the sexual division of labour, on the organisation of private life, or on the organisation of citizenship.
- In the first instance, progress in eliminating gender stereotypes is made.
Finally, it is necessary to remark that the possibilities of weighing the effects of the proposal depend mainly on the quality of the information gathered during earlier steps of the gender impact assessment. The more information obtained, the better the estimation of the expected effects.