The equality of outcome approach is sometimes also referred to as ‘equality of results’ and ‘substantive equality’. It refers to the achievement of equality in the broader, more results-oriented, redistributive sense. Equality of outcome is based on the insight that equality of opportunity and equal treatment may not be enough to redress the historical oppression and disadvantage of women. In some cases, equal opportunities can actually have a negative impact on women’s well-being, if women expend time and energy to take advantage of them with no result.
In order to ensure that development interventions result in equality of outcome for women and men, it is necessary to design them on the basis of gender analysis. ‘Equal’ treatment therefore does not mean ‘the same’ treatment, but implies that persons who are in situations which are alike should be treated alike, and that persons who are in different circumstances should be treated differently.
Equality of outcome or results requires the creation of an enabling social environment by addressing the ideology and cultural constructs that create hierarchies within gender relations. Positive measures have been proved as a necessary measure to guarantee equality of outcome.
See also: substantive gender equality
(1) Based on CEDAW Committee. General Recommendation No 25 on Article 4, paragraph 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women – Temporary Special Measures. Available at: www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/recommendations/General%20recommendation...(English).pdf; (2) EIGE experts.